16th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF)
Mining and COVID-19: From Crisis to Sustainability
20-22 October 2020 | Online
Highlights for Wednesday, 21 October 2020
Day 2 of the AGM delved into the impacts of COVID-19 on various aspects of the mining industry: artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), responsible sourcing and the mining sector’s action on climate. Two sessions addressed the future of resource taxation, and a Spanish-language session focused on experiences from Latin American and the Caribbean countries in developing a shared vision for mining and sustainable development.
Sessions continued in an entirely virtual format, and speakers’ presentations were interspersed with online polls. Some sessions developed a lively parallel dialogue via the meeting platform’s chat box, as participants posted questions and offered spontaneous responses.
Participants heard the experiences of Afghanistan, Chile, Senegal and Colombia in addressing the impacts of COVID-19 on ASM. Online polls conducted showed most participants felt that governments should focus on economic recovery of the sector, and expressed optimism for 2021. Panelists discussed the Delve Project, which provides a global platform for ASM data. It shows that female respondents are more food insecure, which has been exacerbated during the pandemic. They noted that, while governments recognize the need to build back better, further formalization of efforts in the sector are needed.
With regard to responsible sourcing, the AGM discussed the handling of conflict minerals. Panelists noted that the sector had been drastically affected by sharp drops in mineral prices. They discussed how the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM) can contribute by mobilizing resources, sharing knowledge, and experiences, and raising awareness.
Nigel Topping, High-Level Champion for Climate Action, UK, addressed the session on Mining, Climate Change, and COVID-19. He urged the mining sector to join the “Race to Zero”—a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions and investors to commit to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050—as they are a key part of the global energy transition. Participants noted that the COVID-19 crisis creates an opportunity to diversify and green the mineral supply chain.
IGF and the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) introduced a new initiative, “The Future of Resource Taxation,” which investigates how current systems for mining taxation can be improved. Participants heard experiences from the Philippines and Uganda, and discussed how fiscal policies can address base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), which reduces the amount of resource rent that can be collected by source countries. Discussions covered the changing role of the state as an enabler of dialogue between mining companies and stakeholders, alternative dispute resolution methods, and the need for transparency in assessing the value of mineral exports. In a related session on “Splitting the Proceeds,” presenters discussed the relative merits of production-based taxes vis-à-vis profit-based taxes. They cautioned that both approaches are vulnerable to BEPS, and that “the best-designed policies are only as good as the tax administration.” In the other related session regarding the "Role of the State", presenters discussed state participation and a model of competitive bidding for mining licences as a way to improve revenue collection from the mining sector.
In a session on developing a shared vision for mining and sustainable development in the Latin America and the Caribbean, moderated by the Inter-American Development Bank, participants heard experiences from mining policy makers from Argentina, Chile, and Peru. Speakers noted the need for transparency, dialogue and trust building.
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