Mining industry endorses ‘game-changer’ transparency rules – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – January 16, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

OTTAWA — Canada’s mining industry has endorsed a plan that would require mandatory reporting to provincial securities commissions of all project-related payments they make to governments, a move that global transparency groups are hailing as groundbreaking.

In a final report to be issued Thursday, the country’s two largest mining organizations joined with transparency advocates to urge governments to move quickly to implement the plan, which they said would allow citizens in mineral-rich countries to hold governments to account for the resource revenues they collect. The Mining Association of Canada and the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada have launched a lobbying effort to persuade the Ontario Securities Commission and other provincial bodies to adopt the new rules.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper endorsed the idea of mandatory reporting for all resource companies at last year’s Group of Eight summit, and Natural Resources Canada is now consulting with provinces and industry on how to implement the policy for both mining and oil companies.

“This is a real game-changer globally,” said Claire Woodside, director at Publish What You Pay Canada, which worked with industry to finalize the plan. “It’s the first time an industry group has come out in support of mandatory transparency … so this is a real important moment for global momentum.”

Canada is a major force in international mining, with companies such as Barrick Gold Corp., Goldcorp Inc. and Teck Resources Ltd. operating around the world. Some 60 per cent of the world’s mining companies – operating in more than 100 countries – are listed on Canadian stock exchanges and subject to provincial securities regulations.

The new rules would require large mining companies to report, on a project-by-project basis, all payments above $100,000 and set the threshold for junior firms at $10,000.

“The framework is consistent with existing laws in the European Union and the United States, and moves us a big step closer to a global standard,” said Pierre Gratton, chief executive at the Mining Association.

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