Australia urged to take international leadership on global mining governance

1st November 2023


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Australia should use its role as an emerging global mining superpower to drive the highest standards of governance, according to the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Mark Robinson, the Executive Director of the EITI, the leading global standard for good governance in the extractive sector, is in Australia for the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) and is urging the Government of Australia to join leading mining houses and mining nations which already participate in the EITI. Doing so would enable Australia to take a leadership position internationally on responsible mineral sourcing.

“By committing to join the EITI, Australia would be stepping up to play a leading role alongside other like-minded governments, industry and civil society as part of a global movement to advance greater transparency and accountability in the sector,” Mark Robinson said.

“Australia is rightly proud of its track record as a global leader in the extractives sector. In the context of unprecedented demand for minerals to fuel the energy transition, Australia has a golden opportunity to be not only a global mining superpower, but also a leader on ESG performance.”

Leading Australian mining companies already play a key role in EITI implementation around the world, and more than twenty of the large mining, oil, and gas companies operating in Australia are also EITI supporting companies. The organisation’s Mission Critical report on governance risks in the critical minerals sector underscores the importance of responsible global supply chains.

Yet, despite a successful pilot in 2015/16, previous bi-partisan support and encouraging early engagements, progress on membership of the EITI for Australia has been slow.

With the scale of Australia’s resource sector and the Government’s strong commitment to fostering a responsible mining sector in the context of the energy transition, implementing the EITI would reinforce Australia’s international leadership. This would come at a time when the minerals sector is experiencing fundamental change and is exposed to significant governance risks.

“The Australian mining sector, including the like of BHP, Newmont, Rio Tinto and South 32, already support the EITI at the global level, with some holding positions on the international EITI Board. By joining, the Government of Australia would send a strong signal to producer countries in the Indo-Pacific region on the steps they need to take to adopt stronger governance and transparency benchmarks.

“It would also support commitments in its recently released Critical Mineral Strategy to 2023-2030, including on benefit sharing, engaging First Nations on FPIC and promoting Australia as a world leader in ESG standards.

“While countries like East Timor, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines have made steady progress in raising standards of transparency through the EITI, technical support and regional leadership are needed to ensure that crucial reforms are sustained and that mineral supply chains are resilient.

“This is where Australia can really lead. There is clear alignment with the Government of Australia’s goals of supporting dialogue on the energy transition and taking action against corruption. The EITI is also at the heart of a digital transformation which is bringing information on the extractive sector into the public domain through open data to generate public debate and inform policy dialogue.

“The opportunity exists now to ensure that the strategic minerals boom will provide benefits to citizens in producing countries,” Mark Robinson said.

Multi-stakeholder governance has been at the centre of the EITI for 20 years, ensuring a common global benchmark for transparency and accountability in the extractive sector in 57 countries. Argentina, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and the UK participate as implementing countries. The Government of Chile recently announced its commitment to membership.

Mark Robinson said provisions in the recently released 2023 EITI Standard, such as the requirement for implementing countries to disclose information about the recipients of the license transfers and awards publicly, as well as publishing deviations from legal or regulatory processes, enable a level playing field for Australian companies operating around the world, especially in areas where governance is weak.

“Political commitment is needed to support international initiatives such as the EITI which enable companies with good governance practices to leverage this competitive advantage.

“We strongly encourage the Government of Australia to commit to EITI membership, and to take the necessary steps to implement the EITI Standard.

“Implementing the EITI in Australia would create a unique domestic multi-stakeholder forum to enable debate on the future of the sector and build greater public confidence and trust,” Mark Robinson concluded.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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