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Puzzled: Navigating extractive policy information jigsaws for best practice and transparency

McHenry, M.P., Morrison-Saunders, A., Gorey, P., Rita Sequeira, A., Mtegha, H. and Doepel, D. (2015) Puzzled: Navigating extractive policy information jigsaws for best practice and transparency. The Extractive Industries and Society, 2 (3). pp. 401-405.

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This viewpoint article was written in response to our attempt to explore mechanisms that promote financial 'transparency' in the minerals and energy extractive. We controversially forward our opinion that the trajectory of existing transparency mechanisms is likely to generate an obfuscating mass of disclosed information-not 'transparency'. Using a jigsaw analogy, we make a distinction between 'disclosure' and achieving the more challenging 'transparency': it is both being able to have the pieces (disclosure), and put them together to see the big picture. It is just as important to identify missing pieces of the puzzle to prevent selective disclosure. We critically analyze extractive financial policy, and provide an example where a 'best practice' mining securities policy has markedly advanced transparency in a major mining state. The policy substantially reduces government financial risk of a mining company default at no additional cost; reduces costs to industry around ten-fold; incentivises ongoing site rehabilitation; creates a fund for historical abandonments; and; sustains an impressive publically available information instrument of disturbed footprints and associated rehabilitation for every tenement at high precision on an annual basis. Yet it still remains deficient in terms of transparency in particular aspects, of which we clarify and discuss.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Information Technology
School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
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