Strong governance is the key to improving the socio-economic wellbeing of mining-dependent countries (MDCs), says a report.

The analysis by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) found that life in MDCs has improved significantly over the past 23 years.

The report analyses 41 social metrics grouped under 12 relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, across three-quarters of the metrics, it claims there has been “significant progress” made on socio-economic development.

“This report builds on the extensive research we conducted in 2018, challenging the notion that an abundance of natural resources in host countries damages economic and social progress,” said ICMM’s CEO Rohitesh Dhawan.

“However, without strong resource governance and, most critically, effective implementation of mining regulations and frameworks, host countries are unlikely to feel the benefits of mining operations.

“The mining industry has a central role to play in this as a catalyst for change, supporting effective implementation of the frameworks needed to help deliver the UN SDGs.”


Higher governance quality in mining-dependent countries leads to stronger socio-economic progress

The ICMM’s report metrics include neo-natal mortality, adult literacy, and access to electricity. Its findings show the greatest progress has been made across health and wellbeing, access to quality education, clean water, sanitation and affordable clean energy.

The countries with the biggest relative improvements include Bolivia, Botswana, Indonesia, Ghana, and Peru.

The research indicates that most MDCs, which are amongst some of the poorest in the world, continue to close the socio-economic performance gap with non-resource dependent countries.

But ICMM insists that governance is still important. It suggests the higher the quality of governance, the stronger the socio-economic progress observed in these countries.

The council said a stable, enabling environment has the strongest positive relationship with good socio-economic outcomes.

The analysis indicates that countries that are more peaceful have lower levels of corruption, and a vocal and active civil society with sufficient civic space are more capable of translating natural resources into social progress.

It said having mining regulations and frameworks is an “insufficient condition” for good socio-economic outcomes and demonstrates that effective implementation is “critical”.

“In the wake of the pandemic, mineral-rich developing countries face rising poverty, increased corruption risks and growing debt,” said Suneeta Kaimal, the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI)’s president and CEO.

“Good governance by countries and companies – disclosing critical information, ensuring open public dialogue, and promoting evidence-based decision making – is crucial to enabling sustainable, equitable recovery for citizens and a greener planet.

“ICMM can leverage its collective power to help producer countries harness growing demand for minerals associated with the energy transition, develop new models for benefit-sharing, reinforce lessons learned about good governance, and ultimately transform potential into prosperity.”