During the heyday of the commodities boom, Lukas Lundin donated more than $1-million to former U.S. president Bill Clinton's charitable foundation.
"It was about a year ago, when the markets were flying," Mr. Lundin said in an interview yesterday when asked about the contribution that was revealed when the Clinton Foundation released its list of donors yesterday.
Through the Lundin family charity arm, Mr. Lundin soon pledged another $100-million to the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative - a separate foundation led by Mr. Clinton and Vancouver mining financier Frank Giustra. The funds were to be earmarked for development programs in Africa where the Lundins have considerable mining and oil interests.
More than a year later, however, the viability of the Lundin pledge is in doubt. The wealth of Mr. Lundin and his family trust has been decimated by the market crash and Hillary Clinton's new role as secretary of state in the Barack Obama administration has also added unexpected challenges to Mr. Clinton's charitable work because of potential conflicts.
"It is on the back burner for the time being," Mr. Lundin said of the $100-million pledge.
"For everybody's sake, it's probably better to be very careful right now," he added.
The go-go commodities boom led to an unprecedented outpouring of philanthropy from Canada's resource sector and Mr. Clinton's foundation appears to have been a major benefactor. Players from the mining industry account for a disproportionate amount of top contributors, according to the list of donors.
But the subsequent crash in commodity prices has likely put an end to the industry's considerable largesse and placed considerable pressure on those who made charitable pledges during the good times.
"If [Lukas]is pulling back in the short term that is his prerogative," Mr. Giustra said in an interview. "The world has changed and we'll have to change with the correction," he added.
Robert Disbrow, a broker at Haywood Securities, donated $1-million (U.S.) to the Clinton Foundation in 2007, at the height of the boom.
"The industry, because it was going so well, felt there was a need to be more generous with charities. That's what it boiled down to," he said.
Now Mr. Disbrow is scaling back his own giving amid the market crash.
"Certainly, what I'm giving away this year to various charities is less than last year just because things are pretty tough. I think you could say that about the whole brokerage industry and you could certainly say it about the mining industry," he said.
In part, through his personal friendship and work with Mr. Giustra, Mr. Clinton's foundation has benefited handsomely from the mining industry.
Along with Mr. Lundin and Mr. Disbrow, the head of resource-focused brokerage and investment bank Canaccord Capital, Paul Reynolds, also donated between $1-million and $5-million toward Mr. Clinton's charity endeavours.
Another notable resource name on the list is Victor Dahdaleh. Mr. Dahdaleh is the Canadian-born and London-based owner and chairman of Dadco Group, a private company that owns alumina refining and bauxite mining assets.
In March, Mr. Dahdaleh, a noted philanthropist, was hit with a lawsuit alleging bribery and a "massive, outrageous fraud" totalling hundreds of millions of dollars. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the matter. None of the allegations have been proved and Mr. Dahdaleh has vowed to fight them.
As for Mr. Lundin's flagship company Lundin Mining Corp., a recent cash crunch forced it to agree to a takeover offer from rival HudBay Minerals Inc.
Despite the rich premium offered for Lundin's battered shares, the Swedish-born resource magnate has had to endure a very public loss of hundreds of millions of dollars of personal wealth.
"It's taken a serious hit. You can easily look. Mining stocks are down 80 per cent, oil stocks are down 50 per cent. It's not that hard to see," Mr. Lundin said.
Who's pledged what
Some notable donations* to the Clinton Foundation:
$10-million to $25-million (U.S.)- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Frank Giustra, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
$5-million to $10-million - Government of Norway, Michael Schumacher
$1-million to $5-million - Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, Victor Dahdaleh, Robert Disbrow, Lukas Lundin, Friends of Saudi Arabia, Lakshmi N. Mittal, Victor Pinchuk, Paul Reynolds, State of Kuwait, State of Qatar, Government of Brunei
$500,000 to $1-million - Magna International Inc., Soros Foundation, Steven Spielberg, Thomson Reuters
$250,000 to $500,000 - AIG Inc., Michael Cooper (CEO of Dundee REIT)