Home / Manage finances / Rio Tinto suddenly has a pair of 60-year-old legal problems in Canada that miners worry will scare off investors
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Rio Tinto suddenly has a pair of 60-year-old legal problems in Canada that miners worry will scare off investors

The cases against Rio Tinto are related to projects started years before the company set foot in the country and are raising fears that they will discourage investment in Canada's resource sector.

Rio Tinto Group has found trouble on both ends of Canada. The global mining giant is being told it can’t skirt a pair of lawsuits that reach back to projects built in the 1950s, a quarter-century before it first set foot in Canada.

On a single day in October, the Supreme Court of Canada cleared the way for separate aboriginal groups to challenge the future operations of a Rio Tinto hydroelectric dam in British Columbia and an iron-ore mine, with accompanying railway and port, in Quebec and Labrador.

The rulings received scant notice during the final days of a dramatic Canadian election that brought Justin Trudeau and his Liberals to power. Now the cases are sparking a debate as to whether they will discourage investment in the resource sector, or perhaps instead force companies to treat Canada’s 1.4 million indigenous people as full partners.

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