Payments by miners to be more transparent

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Resources minister Martin Ferguson says Australia will trial an international program that publishes company payments and Government revenues from mining.

It is hoped the program will increase the transparency of the payments miners make to Governments in Australia and developing countries.

Speaking at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Ferguson said the Government would be trailing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative from July 1 next year.

The EITI has 11 member nations and was launched in 2002, and is seen as the global benchmark for resource revenue management.

The $500,000 pilot is being funded by the department of resources, energy, and tourism, and Australia will also be providing $12.7 million to support global advocacy of the EITI.

At the meeting foreign minister Kevin Rudd said the EITI was particularly important for developing countries.

“Transparency and accountability are key for developing countries to reap the full benefits of their resource sector,” he said.

Rudd said he hoped Australia’s adoption of the initiative would help other countries do the same.

“Given Australia’s very significant mining sector, we hope this decision will encourage other countries to adopt EITI.”

“Well regulated, the sector can not only provide economic growth but also broader development benefits by funding basic services like health and education.”

The Minerals Council of Australia said it supported the Government’s move, and said the EITI trail would be able to measure mining’s total contribution to Australia.

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