JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Life in mining-dependent countries has improved significantly in the 23 years leading up to 2018, with strong governance the key to improving socio-economic well-being, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) said on Wednesday.
A report that analysed 41 social metrics grouped under 12 relevant United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) showed that there had been significant progress made on socio-economic development across three-quarters of the metrics.
“This report builds on the extensive research we conducted in 2018, challenging the notion that an abundance of natural resources in host countries damages economic and social progress,” ICMM CEO Rohitesh Dhawan stated in a release to Mining Weekly.
“However, without strong resource governance and, most critically, effective implementation of mining regulations and frameworks, host countries are unlikely to feel the benefits of mining operations. The mining industry has a central role to play in this as a catalyst for change, supporting effective implementation of the frameworks needed to help deliver the UN SDGs,” Dhawan added.
The research indicates that most mining-dependent countries, which are among some of the poorest in the world, continue to close the socio-economic performance gap with non-resource dependent countries, with governance playing an essential role.
The research strongly suggests that the higher the quality of governance, the stronger the socio-economic progress observed in these countries. A stable, enabling environment has the strongest positive relationship with good socio-economic outcomes.
The analysis indicates that countries that are more peaceful, have lower levels of corruption, and a vocal and active civil society with sufficient civic space are better able to translate natural resources into social progress. Having mining regulations and frameworks is an insufficient condition for good socio-economic outcomes and the analysis demonstrates that effective implementation is critical.
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) chairperson Helen Clark described the findings as encouraging and aligned with EITI’s principles, which state that the prudent use of natural resource wealth should be an important engine for sustainable economic growth.
“High standards of governance, transparency and accountability are a necessary condition, without which the developmental benefits of the resource sector will continue to be elusive. We therefore encourage governments and companies to consider how they can improve efforts towards transparency, including through implementation of the EITI Standard,” Clark added.
Natural Resource Governance Institute president and CEO Suneeta Kaimal said that in the wake of the pandemic, mineral-rich developing countries faced rising poverty, increased corruption risk and growing debt.
“Good governance by countries and companies—disclosing critical information, ensuring open public dialogue, and promoting evidence-based decision-making—is crucial to enabling sustainable, equitable recovery for citizens and a greener planet. ICMM can leverage its collective power to help producer countries harness growing demand for minerals associated with the energy transition, develop new models for benefit-sharing, reinforce lessons learned about good governance, and ultimately transform potential into prosperity,” Kaimal added.
ICMM stated that the analysis from this report could be used as a baseline of the status of socio-economic progress in mining-dependent countries prior to the Covid pandemic. It added that as countries looked to rebuild to an even stronger position, the importance of understanding the linkage between effective resource governance and social progress would become increasingly important.
The full report, ‘Social Progress in Mining-Dependent Countries: Analysing the Role of Resource Governance in Delivering the UN SDGs' builds on the research undertaken in ICMM’s 2018 study, ‘Social Progress in Mining-dependent Countries’.
Among ICMMs 28 member companies are African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American, Glencore, Sibanye-Stillwater, Gold Fields, South32 and AngloGold Ashanti.