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An Invanhoe Mines exploration camp at the Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia
An Invanhoe Mines exploration camp at the Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia

Ottawa launches mining ombudsman office Add to ...

The federal government has launched an office tasked with settling disputes involving Canadian mining companies operating abroad.

A new ombudsman is now ready to field complaints from people in developing countries concerned over the activities of Canadian mining operations.

Marketa Evans opens her office as Canadian mining companies face allegations of abusing human rights and inflicting environmental damage overseas.

Her mandate, after more than a year of consultations, begins as MPs get set to vote on a private member's bill aimed at ensuring government-assisted mining corporations follow Canadian standards when working abroad.

Liberal MP John McKay, who introduced Bill C-300, says the ombudsman's office lacks teeth because it has no authority to impose sanctions or require companies to participate in the process.

But Ms. Evans says her role is to solve problems, not investigate allegations.

The Mining Association of Canada welcomes Ms. Evans' office, saying it's more constructive than Bill C-300 because it seeks to mediate rather than penalize companies.

Mr. McKay expects Wednesday's final vote on Bill C-300 to be tight.

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