Most minerals have seen a decline in market prices of 40-50% in recent months as the global economic slowdown reduces demand from industry. One could ask, "Does the quest for more transparency help to mitigate the negative effects of this collapse?"
In times of depressed commodity prices revenues from extractive industry are reduced, putting pressure on government finances as well as extractives operators. As financial resources become more scarce, the need for responsible and transparent financial management is increased in order to ensure what is available is being used appropriately. An additional problem poised by falling commodity prices in resource-rich countries is one of expectations: How can a government explain the negative impacts of lower prices to a population that has developed a set of expectations during the commodities boom of the last few years? Through having an open and transparent system of revenue reporting, monitoring of funds becomes more effective and information is openly available to the public.
These problems are perhaps even more salient in mining countries where mining operations employ large numbers of local workers and often provide significant amounts of funding to local and regional governments. As a result, the EITI is especially relevant in the mining sector. In an effort to improve the effectiveness of the EITI in the mining context, we have carried out extensive consultations with mining stakeholders to exchange best practices and ideas on how EITI implementation in the mining sector can be improved. The result has been the production of the publication, "Advancing the EITI in the mining sector", and a special session on mining during our international conference in Doha on 16th-18th February.
We hope these activities will contribute and enrich the dialogue about how the EITI can best be implemented in mining countries.