Mining Investors

Understanding the legal structure of a mining company and identifying its management, shareholders and relationship with the financial market.

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Communities dealing with the impact from mining activities (whether at the claim-staking, exploration, development, operating, closure, or restoration/rehabilitation stage) find themselves confronted by a legal entity they may not understand, making demands that are contrary to the desires of the community, and giving reasons for its behaviour that they do not know how to counteract.

This Resource is an attempt to understand the nature of this legal entity – what drives it and maintains it, where its strengths and vulnerabilities lie – and to provide some tools to persuade the entity to act in a manner that sees the best interests of the community as part of its self-interest.

I have been asked to develop this Resource by activists who need more information about the mining companies they are facing. As I am pulling this together in late 2007, I am very grateful for work that has been done previously by a number of organizations in Europe, the United States and Canada. There is a body of literature on the Internet and in print that provides help to activists undertaking corporate research and planning campaigns in financial markets. Many of these sites are listed in the Resources section of this paper.

I have leaned heavily on two works: Follow the Mining Money published by the Western Mining Activist Network (2000 and now out of print), and the Campaigners’ Guide to Financial Markets, published by the Corner House in the United Kingdom (early 2000s – no date provided).

That said, there is no up-to-date resource that advises Canadian communities and activists about the culture of mining companies and the structure of mining finance in plain English. There have been many significant changes in the mining world, and – correspondingly – in the world of corporate research over the past five years. And there are particular characteristics of Canadian investment and mining which are not captured in general works on corporate analysis or in resources from other countries.

Objectives of the resource

  1. to provide mining activists with the some of the tools they need to understand the corporate culture and financial structure of the mining company they are dealing with;
  2. to provide some rudimentary tools and an analysis of the mining investment industry;
  3. to provide some guidelines and resources for using this information to strengthen community-based efforts to ensure that any mining activities affecting the community are consistent with the goals and desires of the community.

This Resource does not provide an assessment of the value of different types of campaigns directed toward a mining company’s financial base and legal structure such as lobbying shareholders, directors, or management, shareholder resolutions, alerting securities commissions of disclosure deficiencies, and diverting investment (through educating potential investors). It is a good idea to talk with experienced activists before any of these are undertaken. A partial list of such organizations is provided in the Resources Section.

The most thorough analysis of financial strategies is provided by the Cornerhouse Campaigners’ Guide, The reader is strongly encouraged to read it before embarking on a campaign…