A Canadian watchdog is calling for penalties against Dynasty Gold Corp. after it concluded the company used forced labor at its Chinese mine, which the miner denies. 

The Canada Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise, an arm of the federal government that investigates possible human rights abuses by companies, conducted a review of the Hatu mine in the Xinjiang region after a coalition of 28 Canadian organizations filed complaints alleging human rights abuses. 

China has come under international pressure for subjecting Uyghurs, a Muslim minority, to forced labor in detention centers and transfer programs that remove Uyghurs from their homes in rural areas to work in factories in urban areas.

The watchdog said it has evidence based of pervasive use of forced labor among Uyghurs as well as an admission by Dynasty’s joint venture partners of their involvement. Dynasty owns a majority stake in the mine through a subsidiary, according to the watchdog. 

In an email, Dynasty Chief Executive Officer Ivy Chong said the report is “full of errors and inaccuracies” and is “totally absurd.”

“Dynasty has no operation in China since 2008,” said Chong. “Dynasty has never conducted mining in the Hatu mine. It was an exploration operation from 2004 to 2008, there was no report of forced labor at that time.” 

Sheri Meyerhoffer, the ombudsman, is calling on Canada’s trade minister to refrain from supporting the company in international disputes and ban it from receiving financial support from the country’s export-credit agency. 

“There is clear evidence that Uyghur forced labor was used at the Hatu gold mine,” said Meyerhoffer. “Like all Canadian companies operating outside Canada, Dynasty has a responsibility to respect human rights. In this case, Dynasty failed to operate responsibly.”

The watchdog said Dynasty and its senior officers declined to participate in the investigation.