Singapore, 24 July 2009 - Just days after APEC declared intentions that economic growth be "inclusive", experts from across the region gathered to apply the principle to the mining industry.
Members of the APEC Mining Taskforce are preparing a report for submission to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD). This report will review mining sector performance in APEC, including analysis of the current status of sustainable development in mining; short- and long-term challenges and opportunities; and the main economic, environmental and social aspects of sustainable development.
The once-robust mining industry had experienced rapid growth in direct relation to high levels of investment in the years preceding the recent economic downturn. Many look to re-emerging players to act as "locomotives" to reinvigorate the sector.
The high cost of commodities including metals in 2005 - 2008 had disparate affects in developing economies and their approach to resource development. In addition, the price of commodities precipitated a scramble for resources throughout the same period.
According to Dr. Graeme Hancock, Senior Mining Specialist at the Oil, Gas and Mining Policy pision at the World Bank, a guest at the recently held Conference on Sustainable Development of Mining in APEC:
"The emergence of new investors means that greater attention is needed to put in place an effective minerals policy framework to promote sustainable development, especially in "new" mining countries."
Earlier this week, APEC Trade Ministers declared their intent to "ensure that the benefits of globalisation are spread more widely across our societies" and that "growth strategies are consistent with sustainable development."
They specifically noted the importance of today's Conference on Sustainable Development of Mining in APEC, which they anticipate will "contribute to efforts in achieving sustainable growth in the region."
Sustainable Mining Development can be defined as that which is financially viable, takes place in an environmentally and socially responsible manner and with sound governance that provides benefits that last beyond the life of the mine to the communities where mineral development, production and transportation take place.