How countries are getting tougher with mining companies – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.K. – April 4, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – A mix of political populism, higher commodity prices and the expectation electrification will spur demand for some raw materials has led resource-holding governments to change the rules for miners operating in their countries.

In most cases, governments are seeking to increase their share of profits, rather than all-out resource nationalism, although Mongolia has been trying to nationalise a stake in a copper mine. The toughness is not universal.

Some governments see the hardened stance of other countries as a chance to lure investment. Ethiopia is rolling out pro-business reforms after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed swept into office last year.


Typically, resource holders have increased the demands they make of international companies when commodity prices rise. Commodity prices have been increasing since the start of this year, but are relatively low and were still recovering from the crash of 2015-16 when the latest wave of resource nationalism began.

In Africa, Tanzania, regarded as an extreme example, turned on the miners after President John Magufuli swept to power in late 2015 pledging to secure a bigger share of the country’s natural resource wealth.

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