CIM Magazine quotes Ottawa lawyers Peter Mantas and Nabila Abdul Malik in an article on international disputes.
What mining companies cannot predict, however, are governments that suddenly change their minds about who is allowed to mine and how they are permitted to do so. And that type of uncertainty is likely to increase, according to lawyer Peter Mantas, a Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP partner who specializes in litigation and is based in Ottawa.
“I think there is a rise of nationalism over resources, which mirrors several broader trends. I think the big trend is the concern over what we saw with vaccines, with vaccine nationalism. Countries are starting to become more sensitive and nervous about if they need something critical in order to serve their economy or their people, whether they’ll be able to secure those things: for example, key minerals. We saw during the pandemic that even allies engaged in a certain element of nationalism over precious resources. Vaccines are a precious resource, but so are, obviously, key minerals.”
Nabila Abdul Malik, an Ottawa-based litigation associate at Fasken, can also point to other ways the COVID-19 pandemic created an environment where governments are more willing to change the rules for mining companies. Metal prices took a jump during the pandemic, Malik explained. “As a result, the mining industry was earmarked to generate profit, and in some resource-rich countries, mining is the main industry. What we’ve seen is that it’s been leading to disputes in relation to calculation of taxes and royalties. We also foresee that there will be increases in taxes because of the economic ramifications of the pandemic. We see that it may lead some governments to engage in resource nationalism not in the sense of expropriation or anything, but just to get the parties to go back to the negotiating table in order to capture a larger share of the value of the national natural resources.”