MAC: Mines and Communities

ICMM firms commit to poverty reduction

Published by MAC on 2010-02-08
Source: ICMM (2010-02-02)

No doubt mining-affected communities will breathe a large sigh of relief, now that mining companies, who are members of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), are joining forces to conquer poverty. That was the import of an announcement, made at South Africa's Mining Indaba in late January: the so-called "resource curse" will become a thing of the past as companies improve their partnerships, especially with governments.

This seems to ignore the fact that such close partnerships with government are a prime factor in engendering the curse. Getting into bed with corrupt governments, in order to operate in their countries, corrupts both parties in what becomes a truly symbiotic relationship. Real transparency would be the ideal - but this is still a long way off. From a civil society perspective, the work of EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) has proved to be of limited value (as, for instance, in the persecution of activists in DRC - http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=9511)

According to Mining Weekly (http://www.miningweekly.com/article/19-mining-firms-commit-to-poverty-reduction-icmm-2010-02-02) some sensible points did seem to have been made by those attending the press launch of this initiative, bring these high-flying ambitions somewhat closer to ground-level reality.

One immediate, practical, objective would be that these companies lobby for, rather than against, fair taxation of mining operations in countries like Zambia - see http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=9844

The companies involved are African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Barrick, BHP Billiton, Freeport-McMoRan, GoldCorp, Gold Fields, Lihir Gold, Lonmin, Mitsubishi Materials, the China-linked MMG, Newmont, Nippon Mining, Rio Tinto, Sumitomo Metal, Teck, Vale and Xstrata.

Leading mining companies commit to partnerships for development

ICMM Release

2 February 2010

The Honourable Minister Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister for Land and Natural Resources - Ghana, and Mark Cutifani, CEO of AngloGold Ashanti, jointly launched today a new initiative at the INDABA Mining Convention in Cape Town, South Africa.

Mining: Partnerships for Development is a global initiative to enhance mining's contribution to development and poverty reduction through multi-stakeholder partnerships.

In a position statement released today, ICMM's 19 member companies have made a formal policy commitment to actively seek such partnerships across six priority themes - poverty reduction; revenue management; regional development planning; local content; social investment; and dispute resolution.

Mark Cutifani said, ‘Enhancing mining's developmental impacts is a critically important issue and needs to be undertaken through developing solid partnerships, particularly with host governments and communities. Together with my fellow CEOs on the ICMM Council, I call on governments, donors and civil society to work with us to improve the social and economic outcomes from mining investments'.

ICMM research has identified 41 economies which currently or in recent decades have relied significantly on mining. Many of these are developing countries with high poverty levels, and many are in Africa. However, while some still suffer from the so-called "resource curse", others - such as Ghana- have been able to prove that this curse is not inevitable.

"Five years of internationally renowned research - in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Bank- indicate that partnerships involving companies and other stakeholders such as governments, donor agencies and civil society, can be a powerful way to tackle development challenges" said Kathryn McPhail, Senior Program Director, ICMM.

In support of the commitment, ICMM has also released Mapping in-country partnerships - a publication that illustrates existing partnerships across the six priority themes. They include a number of partnerships in which AngloGold Ashanti is involved, including an initiative in South Africa to improve opportunities for former mine workers, and company support in Brazil and Argentina for regional development agencies to stimulate economic diversification.

For more information visit www.icmm.com/mpd

Press contact:

Ben Peachey - Communications Director, ICMM

+44 (0) 20 74675099 - Out of hours contact: +44 (0) 7833091038 - Ben.peachey@icmm.com

Fernanda Diez - Senior Communications Officer, ICMM.

+44 (0) 20 74675099 - Out of hours contact: +44 (0) 783309104 - Fernanda.diez@icmm.com

 

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