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Breaking bad: Biggest mining penalties

Mining companies have accrued a hefty list of fines this year. Offences include violations of safety and environmental standards, financial regulations, and bribery.

So who are the bad kids getting coal this Christmas? Here’s a list of some of the biggest fines so far this year.

1. MMX Mineração e Metálicos S.A. – EBX Group
Amount: $1.8 billion
Reason: Unpaid taxes

Eike Batista | Wikimedia commons image

It’s been a bad year for Eike Batista, the mining magnate behind the EBX Group. He’s been selling off his assets due to his companies’ serious financial problems. To make matters worse, Brazil’s tax agency fined him $1.68 billion in January for unpaid taxes.
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2. Barrick Gold Corp.
Amount: $16 million
Reason: Environmental regulation violations

Chile’s environmental regulator imposed a maximum fine of $16 million this year, saying the company had committed “very serious” violations of its environmental permit and hadn’t accurately described what it had done wrong.
See more here.

3. Griffith’s Energy (now Caracal Energy)
Amount: $10 million
Reason: Bribing African officials

Image from Caracel Energy photo gallery

Calgary oil company Griffiths Energy admitted to bribing Chad’s ambassador, his wife and a couple others in return for exclusive drilling rights in two blocks of land.
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4. OGX – EBX Group
Amount: 1.3 million
Reason: Violating antitrust legislation

Eike Batista at an OGX event | Creative Commons image by 5 Vezes Favela

Batista, again. The miner’s oil and gas company was fined $1.3 million for ‘jumping the gun’ on the purchase of an offshore oil concession – OGX completed the deal before it was approved.
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5. Vale
Amount: $1 million
Reason: Safety violations resulting in death

Vale Sudbury mine

Sudbury mine on June 9, 2011 | Screenshot from Northern LIfe

In 2011 two miners died after being crushed by a massive run of ore and mud. The Ontario court recently issued its biggest fine ever under the Safety Act, forcing the Brazilian miner to pay $1 million.
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6. Ian Telfer, GoldCorp chairman
Amount: $200,000
Reason: “Acting contrary to the public interest”

Ian Telfer, GoldCorp chairman, speaking at lecture on entrepreneurship | Screenshot from MaRS Discovery District

After a stern talking-to, the Ontario Securities Commission fined Telfer $200,000 for a private share transaction which was “contrary to the public interest.”
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