By Stephanie Findlay - Friday, January 11, 2013 - 0 Comments
Workers say they are sick with silicosis
More than 30 gold companies in South Africa are facing a class action lawsuit on behalf of 17,000 former miners who say that, as a result of their work, they are sick with silicosis, a debilitating, irreversible lung disease. The mining companies may be liable for as much as US$100 billion, according to Bloomberg News. The lawsuit comes at a difficult time for the mines, which saw massive drops in profit last year due to labour disruptions.
Class action lawsuits are unusual in South Africa, which does not have a long history of this type of litigation. In November 2012, a class action lawsuit was successfully brought against companies found guilty of running a bread cartel—“a seminal judgment,” says Wouter De Vos, professor emeritus of law at the University of Capetown. “The miners’ case will likely be the most important case to follow.”
Lawyer Richard Spoor, who filed the silicosis suit against some of the country’s biggest mining firms—including AngloGold Ashanti and Harmony Gold—says the number of plaintiffs is increasing by 500 people a month. “People in South Africa can’t afford litigation,” says De Vos. “Class action is the only means to give them access to justice.”
By Josh Dehaas - Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 6:50 PM - 0 Comments
Graduating with a degree in mining engineering seems to be a ticket to a well-paying job
Kyle Buckoll finished his bachelor’s degree at the University of British Columbia in April. Unlike many 23-year-old university graduates, he didn’t settle at his parents’ house in Maple Ridge, B.C., to start hunting for internships or entry-level jobs. Instead, he went on an all-expenses-paid trip to Turkey with 31 fellow class-of-2012 graduates from UBC’s mining engineering program. They marvelled at Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, visited two of the seven ancient wonders of the world, and lounged on beach chairs in Bodrum to toast their graduation. They also toured six mines, because the flight, hotels and buses were all paid for by mining companies eager to show their largesse.
Buckoll wasn’t worried about student loans, either. His tuition for the last four years was covered by Anglo-Swiss mining company Xstrata. In addition to working for the firm while at school, he promised to work for Xstrata after graduation (he will owe them money if he quits in the first two years). After a summer spent touring Europe for fun, he has a well-paying job waiting for him at the company’s mine in Timmins, Ont., in September. His two vehicles will be there, shipped from Vancouver at Xstrata’s expense. His girlfriend will join him there too, her flight and moving expenses covered. They’ll settle into a home with the rent taken care of for the first two months.
Buckoll’s situation, enviable as it sounds, isn’t uncommon. Practically all of his classmates graduated with jobs lined up. Good jobs: pay starts at around $65,000 per year for mining engineers-in-training (EITs) and climbs to around $100,000 after three to five years. Buckoll didn’t get a signing bonus, but he estimates that half of his classmates did.
By Erica Alini - Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 3:00 PM - 0 Comments
The latest GDP numbers, released yesterday by Statistics Canada, caught everyone off guard. The Canadian economy dipped 0.2 per cent in February, surprising most economists, who’d been predicting GDP would inch forward by roughly the same magnitude. Most surprised of all must have been Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney, who had projected 2.5-per-cent annual growth rate for the first quarter. “It looks like the Bank of Canada jumped the gun,” quipped CIBC in a note to clients, adding that “the report suggests that the Canadian economy isn’t out of the woods just yet.”
The disappointing numbers seemed to be tied in large part to sluggish performance in the mining and oil industry, which, as Maclean’s wrote last week, just can’t seem to be able to get their due from the commodities boom. Luckily, there were a couple of sectors that defied the general downward trend and softened the February drop. One of them was—you guessed it—housing. Take a look at this chart from the StatsCan release:
By Philippe Gohier - Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 8:20 AM - 0 Comments
According to Kitikmeot Corp., escalating rates of substance abuse, as well as low levels of education, is hampering the company’s efforts to deliver work to the region
As the business development arm of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, Kitikmeot Corp. was expected to bring economic life to one of the most sparsely populated regions of Nunavut. The company dabbles in everything from real estate development and travel planning to serving the region’s mining industry through road-building and catering. But according to Kitikmeot Corp. president Charlie Lyall, escalating rates of substance abuse among residents, as well as generally low levels of education, is hampering the company’s efforts to deliver work to the region.
“We’re having a hard time finding Inuit educated enough to train,” Lyall said at the Kitikmeot Inuit Association’s annual general meeting earlier this month. It’s a troubling state of affairs given the rapid growth of the mining sector in Canada’s Far North, an industry Kitikmeot Corp. documents identify as the one with “the most potential to provide training and employment opportunities for the Inuit of the Kitikmeot.”