For supporters of transparency, there’s BIG news out of Canada today. Canada’s two largest mining associations, which include more than 1,300 mining companies and organizations, announced today that they have endorsed a set of powerful transparency recommendations which, if fully implemented, could be game-changing for the citizens of resource-rich African countries.
Currently, citizens in many resource-rich countries have no way to know how much their governments receive from the sale of natural resources, making it difficult to hold governments accountable for the use of that money.
The finalized recommendations are timely, given that the Canadian government is currently considering ways in which to put in place regulations mandating that oil, gas and mining companies publish the payments they make to governments for the extraction of natural resources. The European Union passed similar legislation in June 2013.
The recommendations, which were crafted by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, the Mining Association of Canada, Publish What You Pay Canada, and the Revenue Watch Institute, are very strong. In fact, they are modelled on the rules that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued in August 2012 to implement a US law that requires oil, gas and mining companies to publish their payments to governments. ONE fully endorsed those rules. Sadly, however, several Big Oil companies contested those rules with a legal challenge that resulted in a court advising the SEC to draft new rules.
In that context, the endorsement of the Canadian mining industry is particularly interesting, since it highlights the divergent views that Big Oil companies and mining companies have about transparency. With today’s announcement, the majority of the world’s publicly-listed mining companies – including nine of the world’s ten largest, now support mandatory reporting rules that would require project-level payment transparency and no exemptions. Big Oil companies in the US – including BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell – on the other hand are continuing to try to thwart transparency by protecting the secrecy of their payments.
Here at ONE, we applaud the Canadian mining associations’ strong support for transparency. Now let’s do our part to make sure that Big Oil doesn’t undermine transparency efforts in the US. Sign our petition calling on the SEC to not be bullied by Big Oil.