IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining (Draft 2.0)
Chapter 1.2 Revenue and Payments Transparency

Background

Revenues derived from the extraction of a country’s mineral resources can make a major contribution to funding public services and other valuable government activities.  However, where citizens have limited knowledge of revenues paid by natural resource companies the chances of theft or inappropriate usage of revenues from extractives companies grows. Increased transparency of material payments to and revenues received by the host country government is an essential step toward addressing this matter.

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a global coalition of governments, companies and civil society working together to improve openness and accountable management of revenues from natural resources, allowing citizens to see for themselves how much their government is receiving from their country’s natural resources.  The EITI is complemented and extended by mandatory transparency regimes enacted into law in the United States, the European Union and in other jurisdictions. The IRMA Standard is intended to support, without duplicating, the work of the EITI and mandatory transparency regimes.

Objectives/Intent of this Chapter

To increase transparency of mining related payments and provide communities and the general public with the information they need to understand and assess the fairness of financial arrangements related to mining operations.

Scope of Application

Chapter Relevance:  This chapter is applicable to all mines applying for IRMA certification.

The requirements apply to compliance at the time of assessment, and on an ongoing basis thereafter.  The information provided does not have to be backdated to cover activity prior to the application, with the exception of requirement 1.2.4.1. In relation to this requirement the terms for mineral exploration, development and production for the project must be made freely and publicly accessible for the whole period of project development up to the time of application and thereafter.

NOTES TO READERS ON MAJOR CHANGES TO THIS CHAPTER:

  • Removed corporate level requirements; revised remaining requirements so that they continue to address both “country-level” disclosures, and “project-level” disclosures.
  • No longer require broad “corporate owner” participation in EITI, but do require active participation in the EITI by operating companies if the EITI is active in the country where the mine is located.
  • Removed reference to Dodd Frank Act in the requirements (the implementing rules for that law have not yet been approved). The law, however, is still captured under the category of “equivalent mandatory transparency regime” in 1.2.1.1.  Guidance will elaborate on other equivalent regimes.
  • Removed the requirement for compliance with the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations, as transfer pricing is more of a corporate-level issue. It was also recognized that it would be extremely difficult for such a requirement to be audited by IRMA certification bodies in a meaningful way.
  • The means of verification (MOV) have been removed from this version of the draft IRMA Standard. If you would prefer to review and comment on a version of the draft Standard that has the means of verification, you can download a pdf version of the Standard with MOV.
     

Revenue and Payments Transparency Requirements

1.2.1.  Country-Level Disclosure

1.2.1.1.  The operating company shall comply with the requirements listed under this Criterion and Criterion 1.2.2, below, and/or demonstrate how it complies with equivalent reporting and disclosure requirements of the European Union Accounting Directive (Directive 2013/34/EU) and the European Union Transparency Directive (Directive 2013/50/EU) respectively, or an equivalent mandatory transparency regime [1].

1.2.1.2. The operating company shall publish all material payments made by itself and its corporate owner, if relevant, to the government of the country in which the mining project is located. This information shall be updated on an annual basis, and publicly available on the company and/or on appropriate government website(s).

1.2.1.3. The types of payment disclosed shall include as a minimum, as applicable:

a.  The host government’s production entitlement;
b.  National state-owned enterprise production entitlement;
c.  Profits taxes;
d.  Royalties;
e.  Dividends;
f.   Bonuses, such as signature, discovery and production bonuses;
g.  Licence fees, rental fees, entry fees and other considerations for licences and/or concessions;
h.  Payments for infrastructure improvements; and
i.   Any other significant payments of material benefit to government.

1.2.1.4. At minimum, this information shall be broken down by recipient government body (where applicable), by project (where applicable), and by payment type.

1.2.2.  Support for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)

1.2.2.1. The operating company shall demonstrate support for the EITI by publishing a clear public statement endorsing the EITI Principles and Standard on its external website.

1.2.2.2. If the EITI is active in the country where the mine is located, the operating company shall:

a.  Commit to engage constructively with and support implementation of the EITI consistent with the multi-stakeholder process adopted in its country of operation;
b.  Assign strategic responsibility for the EITI to a member of its senior management and appoint a lead contact person responsible for communicating the company’s EITI policy, taking action in support of EITI, and responding to queries from EITI stakeholders; and
c.  Provide links on its external website to completed and up-to-date Company Forms for its operation, if the EITI implementing country has completed at least one validation.

1.2.3. Project-Level Disclosure

1.2.3.1.  The operating company shall demonstrate its compliance with the reporting requirements specified in Chapter 10 of the European Union Directive 2013/34/EU or an equivalent mandatory transparency regime, and/or shall comply with the requirements listed under 1.2.3.2 below.

1.2.3.2. The operating company shall ensure that the following information at the mining project level is reported on an annual basis and is readily accessible to the public:

a.  Mine production, disaggregated by product type and volume;
b.  Revenues from sales, disaggregated by product type;
c.  Payments and other material benefits to government over US$100,000, as listed in paragraph 1.2.1.3 and disaggregated according to the receiving government entity (e.g. national, regional, local entity; name of government department);
d.  Social expenditures including in-kind expenditures, and including the names and functions of beneficiaries;
e.  Payments related to transportation of minerals;
f.   Any payments to politicians’ campaigns, political parties or related organizations; and
g.  Any fines or other similar penalties that have been issued in relation to the project.

1.2.3.3.  The operating company shall publish annual accounts, following international accounting standards.

1.2.4.  Operating Company Transparency

1.2.4.1.  In addition to meeting the requirements of any applicable mandatory transparency regime the material terms for mineral exploration, development and production agreed between the operating company and government entities shall be freely and publicly accessible, with the exception of confidential business information [2] in the national language(s) of the country in which the mining project is located.

a.  Where these terms are negotiated, rather than governed by law, the company shall make the relevant agreements, licenses or contracts freely and publicly accessible.

b.  Where these terms are governed by law, free, public access to the relevant statutory documentation is deemed sufficient to meet the IRMA requirement.

1.2.4.2.  The beneficial ownership of the operating company shall be publicly accessible.

1.2.5.  Anti-Corruption Measures

1.2.5.1.  The operating company shall develop, document and implement policies and procedures that prohibit bribery and other forms of corruption by employees and contractors.

1.2.5.2.  Procedures shall include a requirement to internally report and record any undue pecuniary or other advantage given to, or received from, public officials or the employees of business partners, directly or through third parties.

1.2.5.3.  Relevant employees and contractors shall be trained in the application of the operating company’s policy and procedures.

Notes

The EITI maintains the EITI Standard. The EITI scheme applies specifically to countries. Countries implement the EITI Standard to ensure full disclosure of taxes and other payments made by producing oil, gas and mining companies. These payments are disclosed in an annual EITI Report (to see all EITI Reports, go to data.eiti.org). This report allows citizens to see for themselves how much their government is receiving from their country’s natural resources.

This chapter of the IRMA Standard is based on EITI requirements, but is designed for application to companies. Requirement 1.2.1.2 of the IRMA chapter aims to complement EITI’s scheme by requiring operating companies to report corporate-level information about their payments made in the country where the mining project is located, allowing country and corporate reporting to be compared. As an alternative, to avoid duplication, it allows companies to show how their compliance with specific national or regional regulatory regimes provides an equivalent level of transparency.

Since IRMA certifies mine sites, most of the criteria apply specifically to the mining project level, and the chapter includes requirements related to project-level reporting of payments, accounts, mine development agreements, and anti-corruption measures. 

As for all aspects of the IRMA Standard, documentation or records that are required to demonstrate conformity with this chapter of the IRMA Standard do not have to be prepared exclusively or specifically for that purpose. Documentation or records that have been prepared to meet a company’s legal obligations, or to meet a company’s voluntary commitments (e.g. to meet standards other than IRMA’s) may also be submitted to demonstrate conformity with the requirements of the IRMA Standard. For example, with particular reference to Criteria 1.2.1 and 1.2.3, documentation prepared in order to comply with Norwegian, US or Canadian legislation on corporate payments transparency may be used to demonstrate compliance.

Cross Reference to Other Chapters

 Chapter

 Issues

1.1—Legal Compliance As per Chapter 1.1, if a host country law pertains to mandatory transparency of payments or other information, the company is required to abide by that law. If IRMA requirements are more stringent than host country law, the company is required to also meet the IRMA requirements, as long as such compliance would not require the operating company to break host country law.
2.1—Fair Labor and Terms of Work Chapter 2.1 has a provision for a grievance mechanism (2.1.5), which enables workers to file complaints anonymously, for example, in relation to financial matters, bribery, corruption, etc. without facing retribution from the company.
2.5—Mining in Conflict-Affected or High-Risk Areas Information gathered to fulfil requirements in Chapter 2.5 (e.g., 2.5.2.1.b, 2.5.3.2) may feed into the reporting requirements in Chapter 1.2. (e.g., requirements 1.2.1.3. and 1.2.3.2.) regarding payments to governments.
2.6—Security Arrangements The security risk assessment may reveal information related to payments made to public security forces at the mine site or along transportation routes that will need to be disclosed as country or project-level payments to governments.
2.13—Grievance Mechanism and Access to Other Remedies Chapter 2.13 has a provision (2.13.2.1) that stakeholders be involved in designing a grievance mechanism. So if it is important to stakeholders, the mechanism could allow for the anonymous filing of complaints, for example, in relation to financial matters, bribery, corruption, etc.

 

Endnotes

1.  View the European Union Accounting Directive 2013/34/EU or the European Union Transparency Directive. IRMA Guidance will provide examples and links to equivalent mandatory transparency regimes (e.g., US, Canadian, Norwegian). 

2. Confidential business information that is not material to the terms for mineral exploration, development and production may be excluded or redacted from the publicly accessible documentation as necessary.

 

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