Corruption Risks in Mining Approvals: Australian Snapshot from the -Mining for Sustainable Development Programme
Corruption in the mining approvals process can result in poor decisions about the environmental, social and environmental impacts of a project. State revenues can be captured, and local benefits can be constrained. To help prevent corruption from occurring, corruption risks must be understood. Transparency International’s Mining for Sustainable Development Program (M4SD) seeks to better understand the types of corruption risks that occur throughout the mining lifecycle so that transparency and accountability can be enhanced in the awarding of mining-related permits, licenses and contracts.
As part of the global M4SD program, Square Circle worked with Transparency International Australia to develop a summary report on the mining approvals process in Western Australia and Queensland. The report drew on research conducted in Australia using the Mining Awards Corruption Risk Assessment (MACRA) Tool. The report highlights and ranks a number of risks that could create an enabling environment for corruption to occur—assessments that were also validated by representatives of civil society, industry, and academia. The report also identifies ways in which Transparency International Australia can engage with government, industry and civil society to strengthen transparency and accountability. Shining a light on corruption risks in the mining approvals process is part of Square Circle’s commitment to more positive development outcomes for communities in resource rich countries.
The Australian M4SD research identified the risk of inadequate verification of the accuracy of environmental impact statements in the approvals process for large infrastructure projects evaluated through the coordinated projects process in Queensland.
The lack of investigation into the ultimate beneficial ownership of mining companies applying for mining rights can allow those with a record of corruption and/or non-compliance to mine for resources in Australia.