Corruption risks and ways to combat them in the mining approval process assessed in 18 countries

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat



Translations: FR | ES


Transparency International is launching a new report based on research in 18 resource-rich countries from Australia to Zimbabwe that identifies systemic corruption risks in mining licencing and permitting processes and highlights what can be done to help prevent corruption infiltrating licencing processes.

Combatting corruption in mining approvals: assessing the risks in 18 resource-rich countries, is the first in-depth study to look at the very start of the mining process, when decisions are made about whether, where, and under what circumstances mining is permitted. It is based on research carried out by Transparency International in a diverse range of countries involving stakeholders from civil society, multilateral organisations, the mining industry and governments.

The results show that corruption risks exist in mining approvals regimes of countries across the globe, irrespective of the country’s stage of economic development, political context, geographic region, or the size and maturity of their mining sectors.

“Natural resources are too often vulnerable to corruption. We see this across the world as citizens are denied the wealth that is part of their natural heritage. We want all parties – citizens, governments and mining companies – to be able to undertake sustainable development that benefits everyone. The goal of this work is to lead to a greater understanding of corruption risks in the mining approvals process so that corruption can be countered at the very start of the process,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, chair, Transparency International.

The report is published by Transparency International’s Mining for Sustainable Development Programme (M4SD) led by Transparency International Australia. It is based on research carried out by Transparency International national chapters in Armenia, Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Mongolia, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“By understanding the corruption risks faced in diverse jurisdictions, we are in a better position than ever to work towards ensuring mining contributes to sustainable development. Transparency International Australia will continue to lead this initiative, engaging with our extensive network of stakeholders to drive the change that is so very needed,” said Serena Lillywhite, chief executive officer, Transparency International Australia.

The report is based around a series of questions that help identify where and how an approvals regime is vulnerable to corruption. The answers to these questions target the underlying causes of corruption and inform key players on how to take effective preventative action before corruption occurs.

The report serves as a useful guide to lawmakers and regulators, companies and civil society organisations – regardless of their location – to assess and enhance the transparency, accountability and integrity of the mining approvals regime in their own countries. It can be used as a foundation for these different groups to identify priority areas of work at national and jurisdictional level, and take action to prevent corruption from occurring.

The research identified 140 distinct types of corruption risks and more than 750 stakeholders from a range of sectors were involved. A further 250 individuals participated in validation and review of the risk assessments.

This multi-country study used the Mining Awards Corruption Risk Assessment (MACRA) Tool, specially developed for Transparency International. With a list of common corruption risks, this tool shows users how to identify and assess the underlying causes of corruption that need to be addressed to safeguard the lawful, compliant and ethical awarding of mining sector licences, permits and contracts. Following extensive user testing, Transparency International is releasing an updated version of the MACRA Tool alongside the report.

Note to editors

M4SD is a global thematic network initiative, implemented by Transparency International Australia and supported by the Transparency International Secretariat. The programme is funded in Phase I by the BHP Billiton Foundation and the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The next phase of M4SD will see national chapters develop and implement action plans to prevent the corruption risks identified in this research.


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