The Asia Miner

OCT-DEC 2018

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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Page 29 of 51

the asia miner • volume 15 • issue 4 28 AROUND THE REGION Asia is blessed with sizeable endowments of mining resources, amounঞng to some of the highest global reserves of coal, gold, manganese, uranium and iron. Almost 60 percent of the word's coal reserves are found in Asia, parঞcularly in the Central Asian republics, China and Indonesia. An abundance of natural resources can be both a blessing and a curse. Economies o[en experience a producঞon and export boom following the discovery of rich oil, gas or mineral deposits. However, the gains from unearthing these resources can be difficult to sustain over the longer term, which has led to the coining of the term 'the resource curse' in the economic literature. But what are the implicaঞons of resource riches for broader socio- economic progress in countries? New research by the Internaঞonal Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM) has examined the socio-economic impacts in mining-dependent countries globally. Its main finding: being endowed with natural resources is not inevitably a curse, parঞcularly when examined through the socio-economic lens. The majority of resource-dependent countries from Africa to Asia have made substanঞal social progress over the past 20 years, raising the quality of life for people in these areas significantly. The report, ঞtled Social Progress in Mining-dependent Countries, examines trends across a broad set of socioeconomic indicators linked to 11 of United Naঞons' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in countries with a sustained history of mineral dependence over the past 20 years. Five countries in Asia, namely Rethinking the resource curse in Asia By Bingxun Seng and Dr. Fraser Thompson Australia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea and Uzbekistan, meet the strict criterion applied to characterise mining dependency in this report. In pracঞce, a number of other countries in the conঞnent are increasingly tapping into their sizeable reserves or have a heavy focus on mining in a few subnaঞonal regions. Hence, it is instrucঞve for stakeholders in these countries to understand the lessons from other resource rich countries in translaঞng resource wealth into socio- economic development. Asia's mining-dependent countries have been made substanঞal social progress over the past two decades. Between 1995 and 2015, more than 70 per cent of the 32 socio-economic indicators examined improved in absolute terms in Asia, led by significant development in reducঞon of overall income inequality, beer access to the internet and mobile phones, and improved health. Governance, however, is an area of concern. Measures of corrupঞon deteriorated in Mongolia, Papua New Guinea and Uzbekistan, while poliঞcal stability weakened in Australia and Mongolia over the last 20 years, which could introduce difficult quesঞons on the potenঞal link between resource abundance and weak governance. While the absolute performance on socioeconomic indicators has been promising, the relaঞve performance of Asia's mining-dependent countries has also been favourable. In 1995, Papua New Guinea and Mongolia had overall socio-economic performances that were below the global average, but both were able to close the gap against the global best performers by around 5 and 10 per cent respecঞvely over the next two decades. In fact, all mining-dependent

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