"While much of the controversy surrounding Canada’s extractive industry centers on oil and gas projects like SWN Resources' drilling plans in New Brunswick, Enbridge's Line 9 pipeline and the widely felt impact of Tar Sands extraction in Alberta, there is a significant lack of debate concerning Canada's larger and much more influential mining sector.
It’s estimated that 75% of the world’s mining and exploration companies are based in Canada. Collectively, they account for 42 billion dollars of Canada's gross domestic product, making mining and exploration one of Canada's most economically powerful sectors. Some 40% of global mining capital is raised on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The impact of Canada's mining sector, however, goes far beyond mere facts and figures.
Wherever Canadian mining companies operate, they have an indelible imprint on the social, political and environmental realities in which they insert themselves. In countries that are politically unstable or where a culture of impunity is permitted to thrive, that imprint can span generations with successive mining companies following in the footsteps of their predecessors. Such is the legacy of shame that the Maya Q’eqchi people in Guatemala have been forced to endure for the last half century. "