Australian Embassy
The Philippines

MR130521: Mining for Development Conference begins in Sydney, Australia

Mining for Development Conference begins in Sydney, Australia

Representatives from more than 60 countries are attending the Mining for Development (M4D) Conference which starts in Australia today.

A delegation from the Philippines, led by Secretary Elisea ‘Bebet’ Gozun, Presidential Assistant on Climate Change, is attending the conference. The delegation includes senior officials from the Departments of Energy and Finance, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the Board of Investments, the Union of Local Authorities in the Philippines, the private sector and civil society.

“Australian expertise in responsible and sustainable mining is recognised globally. We are pleased to contribute to the development of the mining industry in the Philippines,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell said. “Mining, done well, will generate the economic activity required to create jobs, alleviate poverty, and ensure the strong growth achieved by the Philippines in 2012 is sustained over the longer term.”

Australian Aid continues to support the development of the mining sector by providing scholarships to Filipinos for study in Australia and in the Philippines. These scholarships will help strengthen the expertise of the local mining industry and the capacity of faculties within Philippine universities, in the fields of traditional mining as well as in environmental and social sciences. This approach will complement other AusAID-funded projects that support the integration of sustainable development in mining activities including mine site rehabilitation and the prevention of further degradation of mined areas.

The M4D Conference will examine how mining can lead to better social outcomes, including health and education services, how conflict with local communities can be avoided and the importance of women in decision making.

“Considerations such as these will be important in driving a peace dividend in Mindanao, which is rich in mineral resources and where responsible mining can play a critical role in providing much-needed economic opportunities,” Ambassador Tweddell said.

Australia has a long track record of extracting natural resources and it is using this experience through the International Mining for Development Centre to help developing countries make their mining industries more sustainable and efficient.

On 23-24 May, Australia is also hosting the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) global conference. The EITI was established by former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in 2002 and 37 countries have signed up to date.

The conference will host representatives from more than 90 countries, including heads of state and resource ministers.

The EITI global conference brings together governments, NGOs and representatives from some of the world’ largest mining companies to encourage more transparency in the payments mining companies make to foreign governments.

Australia is supporting the Philippine Government’s candidature for the EITI and its efforts to improve transparency and governance within the sector. It is working with civil society and non-government organisations to oversee the implementation of the global EITI transparency standards in the Philippines.

Australia is one of the top three donors to EITI. The Chair of EITI, Rt Hon Clare Short said: ‘Australia is demonstrating that extraction of natural resources can be an important vehicle for economic growth where coupled with transparency and good governance.

‘Australia's commitment to improving governance in this sector is evident by the launch of the Mining for Development initiative and its strong support of the global EITI transparency standard. Australia is also leading by example and implementing an EITI pilot. We greatly appreciate the support from the Australian Government in hosting our 6th Global Conference,’ Ms Short said.