NGOs question Australia’s Mining for Development Initiative


May 16, 2013 08:36:00

An Australian mineral management initiative is being criticised as benefiting Australian corporate interests more than developing nations.

The $127 million dollar Mining for Development Initiative was launched by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in October 2011.

It’s intended to help developing nations avoid the catastrophic mismanagement, corruption and environmental damage that, in places like Nigeria, has resulted in people being left worse off as a result of their mineral wealth.

The director of NGO AidWatch, Thulsi Narayanasamy, says the initiative is “at best, an expensive exercise in corporate welfare”.

“Delivering direct financial and regulatory support to mining companies, and indirect support through ‘green-washing’ these companies and rebranding their image as sustainable,” she said.

“There’s very few prospects of alleviating poverty and inequality in terms of the image that they’re perpetuating with mining being the solution for developing countries – which there’s very little evidence to demonstrate.”

The developing world’s share of mineral, petroleum and gas exports is growing fast.

It accounts for 50 per cent of the global trade – up from 30 per cent in just 15 years – meaning 3.5 billion people now live in poor countries with a significant extractive industry.

For them the resource curse – the poverty, corruption, conflict and environmental damage that so often comes with resource industries – is a real risk.

Oxfam Australia’s Mining Advocacy Advisory Serena Lilywhite hopes the initiative will succeed, but says the development aspects much remain the focus.

“It has the potential to help ensure citizens of resource-rich, but very poor, countries, do get a fair share of their natural resource wealth, and also help reduce their dependency on aid” she said.

“So there is great potential.”

The director General of AusAID, Peter Baxter, the Australian Government agency that is responsible for the Mining for Development Initiative, says AusAID does not partner with mining companies or fund their corporate social responsibility activities.

“We’re not doing this to help mining companies – they don’t need our help,” he said.

“What we’re doing is trying to help governments get the best result they can from their natural resource sector, and Australia is recognised internationally as a global leader in governance on natural resource industries.”


First posted

May 16, 2013 08:13:44

Source Article from

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: Premium WordPress Themes | Thanks to Themes Gallery, Bromoney and Wordpress Themes