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Olympic blog series

Over at the PWYP International Office, Olympic fever got the better of us and we decided to hold an Olympic themed blog series.

Over these couple of weeks, when a country that is rich in gold, silver or copper won the equivalent medal we posted a blog on the mining of that resource. We also included countries that are home to famous gold, silver and copper companies and blogging about those too.

It’s been a collaborative effort, with blogs coming in not only from all over the world but from a number of different organisations, from Oxfam Australia to Action Aid in the UK to ONE in Brussels. There’s a round-up of the blogs below, but keep an eye out on our blog as we still have plenty of blogs coming in this week on countries including Romania and Kazakhstan.

For reasons of space we’ve only given you the smallest of teasers for each blog, but follow our links to read the whole thing!  Also, please retweet and like our blogs – and feel free to make comments!

Australia wins Gold! But can the same be said for Rio Tinto?

PWYP Australia’s Peter Colley gives us an overview of Olympic sponsors – and gold mining company – Rio Tinto…

Canada takes home a Bronze! But should we take out the Copper?

PWYP Canada explores the relationship between First Nations People and mining companies, particularly in the context of the Copper-Gold Prosperity Mine in British Colombia…

Why Chinese mining companies shouldn’t be an excuse to delay transparency 

PWYP International discusses why Chinese success in the mining sector shouldn’t be used as an excuse to delay transparency legislation.

Does Rio Tinto top medal table for Transparency? 

Following Team GB's gold rush, PWYP International's Joseph Williams has blogged about Anglo-Australian company Rio Tinto, and their foray into transparency.

If BHP Billiton were competing in the transparency Olympics, would it score bronze? 

PWYP Australia's  Claire Spoors has blogged on BHP Billiton's copper exploitation at its Olympic dam mine in South Australia.

Swiss giant Glencore’s lack of transparency means no silver lining for Zambia 

Following Switzerland's wins Chris Jordan from Action Aid has written about Glencore's Mopani copper mine in Zambia and how secrecy means Zambians are not getting a fair deal for their resources.

Anvil Silver Mine and the search for accountability

PWYP Australia's Liz Barrett has written about the Anvil Silver Mine in DRC and its ruinous impact on the surrounding community.

South Africa: Three Cheers for Gold, not just in South Africa but everywhere

ONE’s Tamira Gunzburg has blogged about South Africa’s gold mining company AngloGold Ashanti and how European Legislation holds the key to unlocking the true potential of minerals. 

Opening blog: PWYP Olympic blog series is launched

Have a read about how this all started... 

Why doesn’t Germany support detailed transparency for the oil, mining industries?

In this issue we’re featuring one of Transparency International’s recent blogs on Germany’s support (or lack of) for extractive transparency legislation at the European level. You can read the full blog here.

An old industrial dynasty from the German Ruhr region might play a role in blasting the envisaged transparency regulations for the extractive industry proposed by the EU commission. It is one of those typical German Mittelstand (SME) family-owned businesses, which was founded in 1842 by Wilhelm Grillo, and grew into an industrial giant, the Grillo-Werke AG. The core competence on zinc, the company focuses on zinc metallurgy and sulphur chemistry, has an estimated annual turnover of around 600 million Euro, around 1600 employees and is headed by Ulrich Grillo.

Having led the natural resources section of a major German industry lobby for five years, Ulrich Grillo plays an important part in the way Germany responds to European Commission plans to increase the transparency of the extractive industries. As already described in this blog, there is a depressing correlation between natural resource wealth and corruption. Continue reading...


The advantages of being in a coalition...

PWYP-Canada and PWYP Mauritania collaborate in order to engage with gold mining company

Thank you to PWYP Canada's Kady Seguin for sending this in

In 2011, PWYP-Canada and PWYP-Mauritania collaborated on a letter writing initiative to engage Kinross Gold, a Canadian-based gold company developing and operating a large gold mine in Mauritania. PWYP-Mauritania had previously attempted to engage with the company’s subsidiary, Tasiast Limited, with little success. In an attempt to open a channel of communication, PWYP-Canada and PWYP-Mauritania drafted a simple letter directed to both the company’s headquarters in Toronto and its subsidiary’s office in Nouakchott, Mauritania. The letter contained a brief description of the PWYP-Mauritania coalition, its efforts as well as several questions related to the company’s employment practices.

Since receiving a response, the PWYP-Mauritania coalition has met with a representative from Tasiast Limited in Nouakchott several times to express concerns and ask questions related to the company’s operations. While concerns remain, PWYP-Mauritania will work to build on this engagement and hopes to create a meaningful dialogue with the company. PWYP-Mauritania and PWYP-Canada will continue to collaborate on strengthening this engagement, both in Mauritania and in Canada.

PWYP-Mauritania’s objective is to establish a dialogue with the Canadian companies operating in Mauritania with assistance from PWYP Canada. Prior to this collaboration with PWYP Canada, the Mauritanian Coalition had addressed numerous letters to the companies operating in Mauritania without any response; this partnership has allowed the Mauritanian coalition to get its first official   response from a company.

Act Now!

On 1st July, Cyprus took over the European Presidency and have responsibility for steering the negotiations of the amendments to the Transparency and Accountability Directive, which would oblige EU listed (and large non-listed) extractive companies to publish what they pay to governments. This legislation could help life millions out of poverty.

You can help, take two minutes to sign this petition calling on the Cyprus government to promote strong transparency laws.

EITI Updates

  • Afghanistan’s Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (AEITI) released their first report.  Civil society in Afghanistan have reacted to this development, congratulating AEITI but also highlighting areas of the report which will need to improve. They called for further disaggregartion of the reported date, with Didar Ali Didar of the Human Rights Research and Advocacy Consortium stating that  “Financial data disaggregated by commodity and project will help in analyzing and determining the profitability of each and every contract”. Read the full press release. 
  • Burma/Myanmar has reasserted its intention to become an EITI country. You can find out more on this story on the EITI site.
  • The Revenue Watch Institute has released its training modules relating to EITI. These training modules draw on RWI’s library of research materials, global capacity building experience and international, comparative analysis of best practices and policies in natural resource management.