Vancouver-based Dynasty Gold (TSXV: DYG) has put out a statement denying allegations made last year by a coalition of human-rights groups and under investigation by the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) that the company used forced labour in China.
The allegations were first reported last month by the Globe and Mail, which named Dynasty Gold as the target of a CORE investigation concerning mineral exploration activity conducted in Xinjiang, the Chinese province at the heart ‘serious human rights violations’ against Uyghur Muslims, as called by the United Nations.
Also being investigated are Nike Canada, and more recently, Ralph Lauren, which the Ombudsperson alleges had used or benefited from forced Uyghur labor in their supply chains and operations in China.
This represents the first such investigation launched by CORE since it started its complaint mechanism in 2021. Complaints against 10 other companies filed by various civil society organizations are still being assessed by the agency.
In response to the initial report, Dynasty Gold emailed a response to Reuters that the allegations were “totally unfounded."
In the company’s press release Thursday, Dynasty reiterated that the allegations are not supported by evidence, stating that the mineral exploration program at the heart of CORE’s allegations was conducted by a joint venture, in which the company was only a funding partner.
According to Dynasty, this exploration program was completed in 2008, which was more than a decade before the alleged Uyghur human rights issues.
“Dynasty Gold has never operated a mine in Xinjiang and has had no presence in Xinjiang since 2008, other than as a plaintiff in a lawsuit focused on ownership of the Hatu Qi-2 gold deposit, which has been mentioned in Dynasty Gold’s disclosure record,” it said.
While its investment in the joint venture’s exploration during 2004-2008 in Xinjiang resulted in the discovery of the Hatu Qi-2 gold deposit, the company said the mining permit was never transferred from Dynasty Gold’s Chinese venture partner to the joint venture.
In addition, and despite its “mostly passive role” in the joint venture, Dynasty Gold noted that “the joint venture provided on the job training to local workers (such as training on how to use mining software) and paid wages to local workers that were about double the local wages plus benefits.”
Shares of Dynasty Gold were up by 1.9% at the end of Thursday’s session. The company has a market capitalization of C$16.2 million ($11.9m)