By Tim Grice (Square Circle) and Nicole Bieske (TI Accountable Mining Programme)
Transparency International’s report examines the impacts of COVID-19 and the pandemic era on mining and outlines seven themes of the changed landscape for corruption risk in the mining industry.
Despite some gloomy early forecasts, metals and minerals markets have proved remarkably resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most commodity prices have experienced a ‘V-shaped’ contraction and recovery, and the stocks of most large mining companies have rebounded to higher than pre-pandemic levels.
Yet commodity markets have never been a good proxy for the wealth and wellbeing of governments and citizens in resource-rich countries. Upwards of 150 million people may be pushed into extreme poverty due to the pandemic, while many developing economies could take years to return to their pre-pandemic trajectories. As with crises of the past, the global economic recovery’s rising tide is unlikely to lift all boats.
Taken together, the intertwined yet potentially divergent trajectories of mining companies and the countries in which they operate raise important questions for mineral resource governance and anti-corruption efforts – creating the potential for what some commentators have called a perfect storm of challenges.
A new report from Transparency International’s Accountable Mining Programme, Through the looking glass: Corruption risk in mining licensing and permitting in the pandemic era, outlines seven themes of the changed landscape for corruption risk in the mining industry. We focus on mining licensing and permitting, the first stage in the mining value chain, when decisions are made about whether, where and how mining can take place. The report draws on interviews with over 80 mining sector stakeholders, and includes case studies from Canada, Indonesia, Mexico and Zambia. In this blog we profile three key themes that highlight how corruption risk in the mining industry has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.