Anti-corruption campaigners urge mining transparency laws

Source: Global Times
Date: 22 May 2022

As government officials, mining companies and NGOs meet in Sydney for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Global Conference Thursday, transparency campaigners are calling for Australia to adopt new payment transparency laws for the resources sector.

The European Union and United States have already implemented rules requiring oil, gas and mining companies to publish all payments made to governments for access to natural resources, in all countries where they operate.

Social justice organization OXFAM supported the 2010 US legislation, saying it would "arm the public with information it can use to track the amount of money governments receive from oil and mining companies and help investors assess a company's risk."

The Publish What You Pay coalition Wednesday released a statement calling for Australia to follow suit and introduce laws to force all resources companies based in Australia and listed on the Australian Securities Exchange to publish all government payments.

"This week, all eyes are on Australia to see if we follow the rest of the world in introducing new rules that aim to stamp out corruption and help people in poverty," said Publish What You Pay Australia coordinator Claire Spoors.

"More than 60 percent of the world's poorest people live in countries rich in natural resources, but they rarely share in the wealth," she added.

Spoors said that secrecy and corruption often result in the income from natural resource extraction going missing and not benefiting communities -- who often miss out on basic services like clean water and health care despite the wealth buried under their feet.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron last week called for greater corporate and government transparency in resources deals worldwide, proposing an international strategy to increase openness.

The issue was also recently discussed at Mining for Development Conference in Sydney, held over May 20-21 to discuss improvements to the regulation and community contribution of mining industries in developing countries.

Global Times