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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

New Initiative For Transparency In Pacific Mining Operations
EITI will push disclosure of revenues and royalties paid

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Jan. 22, 2013) – A new transparency initiative is set to help small Pacific Island nations protect themselves from the dangers of dealing with powerful international mining companies.

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) will encourage mining companies to disclose the tax revenues and royalties they pay to governments, and encourage governments to disclose what they receive.

Oxfam Australia's Mining Advocacy Coordinator, Serena Lilywhite, says the EITI will enable citizens to hold their government to account and ensure they are getting their fair share of resources.

"They [citizens] have an opportunity to ensure that the revenues that do flow are being used on the sorts of essential services that they need, such as schools, hospitals, decent roads and basic infrastructure," Ms. Lilywhite told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat.

Ms. Lilywhite says the initiative will put pressure on governments to introduce laws that will assist in combating corruption.

With Sydney set to host the Extractive Industry Transparency Conference in May, Ms. Lilywhite says it will be a good opportunity for attention to be focused on the Pacific.

She says she hopes Pacific Island representatives will be able to travel to the conference to share their experiences of the impact of mining on their communities.

Australia is yet to fully sign-on to the EITI, but Ms. Lilywhite says it is "really important" that it does.

"It is a really good opportunity for the Australian government, as well as Australian mining companies, to lead by example, and send a clear signal that they are really serious about conducting their mining activities in the region to the highest possible standards," she said.

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