Around 70 per cent of all mining output is produced and consumed in APEC member economies - this includes the majority of the world’s bauxite, copper, iron, nickel, silver, tin, and zinc, among others. Collectively, these resources play a role in everything from home construction to transportation and digital infrastructure, food production and healthcare. The mining, mineral, and metal industries are of great importance to the APEC Region, with close to 75 per cent of all global mining trade and investment conducted within the APEC Region.
In the past two decades, the share of natural resources in total world exports increased more than 22 per cent since 1990, according to the World Trade Organization. APEC’s promotion of free trade and investment in the mining sector reflects the importance of minerals and metals to generating economic growth and as an input to many key products which improving living standards. APEC’s collaborative activities support well-managed, effectively regulated mining and metallurgical operations that are sustainable and contribute to the well-being and livelihoods in APEC economies.
In 2007, APEC Ministers endorsed the establishment of the Mining Task Force (MTF), building on previous activities within APEC. The MTF derives its mandate from priorities set by APEC Leaders and Ministers and from directions provided by Ministers Responsible for Mining. The Mining Task Force is composed of policy officials who work with experts in government and academia, private industry, and regional and international organizations.
At the 3rd Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Mining in 2007, Ministers agreed to APEC Mining Policy Principles, including:
- Pursue policies that enhance the sustainable production, trade, and consumption of minerals and metals thereby improving the economic and social wellbeing of our people.
- Foster regular exchange between member economies about experiences with regulations, policies, and practices and about significant developments in each economy's minerals and metals sector.
- Foster investment certainty in the APEC minerals sector through the pursuit of open minerals and metals markets and the articulation of clear and predictable investment policies.
- Promote cost effective, evidence-based, transparent and objective-based measures which improve the efficiency in the regulation of the minerals industry to contribute to economic, environment and social development outcomes.
- Encourage, support and promote initiatives by the minerals and metals industry and stakeholders that contribute to national and international sustainable development goals.
- Support capacity building activities for sustainable development so that all APEC Economies are able to maximize the benefits and minimize the impacts from minerals resource development.
The 5th and latest Meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Mining was held June 27-28, 2014 in Beijing, China. The Ministers issued a Joint Statement that described actions to achieve sustainable development in the mining sector and instructed the Mining Task Force to formulate and implement an Action Plan. The Statement outlined actions in the following three main areas:
- Closer Cooperation of the Mining Sector in the Asia Pacific Region
- Innovation-driven Growth
- Social Responsibility and Common Development
Ministers also emphasized the need to accelerate the mining industry’s transformation and upgrading and the pursuit of a modernized development path to improve its social, environmental and economic benefits. News release on the 5th Meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Mining in Beijing.
In 2015, APEC established a fund to support collaboration on mining, announced following the 9th Mining Task Force (MTF9) meeting held on 26-27 August 2015 in Cebu, Philippines. Further details on the guidelines and eligibility for the Mining Sub-fund are available here. This fund supports APEC projects, which will strengthen the capacity of local businesses, mining industry and/or regulators in developing member economies, enhance the trade and investment environment for mining and contribute to APEC objectives for women’s economic empowerment.
The general procedures for applying for APEC project funding are available here. In addition to these general procedures, the Mining Task Force has an internal review process which supports project quality. Under this process, the next Internal Submission Deadline for Mining Task Force will be around 1 month earlier than the general ‘Internal deadline’ for projects applying for funding under Session 1, 2017. The deadline for submission of draft MTF concept notes to the APEC Secretariat is expected to be announced here by January 2017. Concept Notes need to be submitted by the MTF representative of an APEC member economy.
At the Tenth Mining Taskforce meeting held in Arequipa, Peru in May 2016, members from government, ABAC, and guests from private sector, academic and international organizations discussed significant developments and charted future APEC collaboration in the mining sector. A Public-Private Dialogue on Mining was held with Mining CEOs which focused on ‘Promoting the growth of a healthy and sustainable mining sector in the Asia Pacific’.
In 2016 four APEC projects were approved to further collaborative action, consistent with the APEC Mining Policy Principles. Various workshops, trainings, and reports will be produced under these projects which are expected to be completed by December 2017:
- Developing Training Materials to Promote the Reduction of Mercury Use in Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining (MTF 01 2016A)
- Mining Industry Competitiveness: Improving Productivity and Data to Attract Investment (MTF 02 2016A)
- Mine Closure Checklist for Governments (MTF 03 2016A)
- Mining Equipment, Technology, and Services (METS) Sector Development (MTF 04 2016A)
In 2015 a Capacity Building Needs survey was conducted in which government representatives from 10 APEC developing member economies identified their top priorities for capacity building, particularly:
- Mining Regulation, Governance and Practices Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) (e.g. community development, indigenous peoples, labour practices)
- Environmental protection (e.g. biodiversity protection, water management, air pollution, noise and vibration control)
- Private sector engagement & cooperation with the mining industry
- Technology and Innovation (e.g. R&D, technology partnerships, information exchange and transfer)
- Mine safety
- Community engagement
- Artisanal mining
In 2014, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) conducted a comprehensive overview of the mining sector within APEC’s 21 economies. The study focused on the potential of hard-rock and bulk mining sector in the Asia-Pacific region, including resource endowment, production, investment and overall economic importance; identifies the socio-economic effects of mining in APEC member economies, including GDP, employment and infrastructure development, and local/regional impacts; outlines best practices for responsible and sustainable mining, both socially and environmentally, using case studies as examples; and assesses the impact of national government policy and regulations on investment in the mining sector.
In 2010, a workshop on "Balancing Competing Demands of Mining, Community and the Environment to Achieve Sustainable Development in the Mining Sector" was held which targeted government officials and industry representatives in developing APEC economies. In addition to building members' capacity with respect to mine rehabilitation and reclamation, the workshop helped members implement policies that incorporated a deeper consideration of the environmental and social implications of mining.
A "Conference on Sustainable Development of Mining Sector in the APEC Region" was held in July 2009 in Singapore. The Conference focused on how to apply the concept of sustainable development in the mining sector in APEC-based on the comprehensive review of the latest trends in this sector. A report was compiled on the findings of the project. In February 2011, the final report on “Sustainable Development in Mining in APEC” was presented to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD).
A Workshop on "Creating a Framework for Corporate Social Responsibility Stakeholder Dialogue: Mining Industry Operations" was held in September 2009 in Peru to intensify the dialogue among governments (in particular, local representatives), industry, and civil society groups regarding how best to improve the efficiency, transparency and accountability concerning the sustainable development of an economy's natural resource endowment at the local, regional and national levels.
Rodrigo Urquiza (Mr)
Mining Task Force
Penelope Howarth (Ms)