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B.C. mining company fined $35K over ads masquerading as journalism

Bearing Lithium Corp. pushed the content through influencers, social media and websites
FILE - Pieces of lithium sparkle in an ore sample in Prague, Czech Republic. A lithium mining company in B.C. known as Bearing Lithium Corp. was fined $35,000 by the B.C. Securities Commission for misleading advertising. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File)

A B.C. lithium mining company has been fined $35,000 for misleading advertising.

In 2017, Bearing Lithium Corp. and then-CEO Jeremy Arthur William Poirier released an advertisement on news wires and websites that purposefully neglected to note it was promoted content.

“The advertorial was written in the style of a news article designed to look and read like objective journalistic content. However, none of the disseminations disclosed that the advertorial was issued on behalf of Bearing,” reads a July 22 settlement agreement between the company and the B.C. Securities Commission.

The company further paid to have 19 social media influencers promote its content on Twitter, LinkedIn, investFeed, iHub and Facebook. Again, it appeared as news rather than an advertisement.

Under the Securities Act, anyone engaged in investor relations activities must clearly and conspicuously disclose when they issue promotional materials. Bearing Lithium Corp shares trade on the TSX Venture Exchange.

In the settlement agreement, it and Poirier admit to contravening the Act and agree to pay $25,000 and $10,000, respectively.

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