While Western nations have slapped significant sanctions on Russian oil and gas exports in response to the war in Ukraine, they have not imposed similar restrictions on the export from Russia of critical minerals, which use in the production of such goods as automobiles and iPhones. But at a global mining conference in Toronto this week, panelists said even without sanctions, companies and their legal advisers have a moral imperative to ensure their money doesn’t continue flowing to authoritarian governments that ignore the rule of law.

Daniel Bilak. Credit: Gail J. Cohen/ALM Daniel Bilak

“In business, we don’t like to focus on the moral issues because they get in the way of transactions but I think that this war has shown that there are huge costs to doing business with dictators, tyrants and terrorists,” said Daniel Bilak, a Canadian-trained lawyer who is now a partner and head of the Ukraine practice at European law firm Kinstellar.