In March of 2017, Armenia became a candidate country for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), thereby committing to opening of mining industry data.
What points of the EITI report should reporters writing on the mining industry focus on?
British expert on natural resource management and anti-corruption, Colin Tinto, answered that question in the “Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and Armenian Process” manual prepared by the Responsible Mining Center of the American University of Armenia and the Media Initiatives Center.
The expert suggests:
Analyze the EITI report section on costs.
For the first time, Armenia’s EITI report will publicly disclose information on mining profits.
Journalists can use this data to find out how much Armenia earns for the extraction of natural resources.
Check government revenue data.
The Armenian EITI report can reveal cases where data on payments made by companies and the government do not coincide.
Journalists may discover these discrepancies and demand that the government be accountable for their real earnings.
Investigate extractive companies’ tax reports.
Data discrepancies in company payments allow reporters to uncover major taxpayers and those whose paid taxes are suspiciously low.
Low tax payments can mean that there has been a violation of a law and a case of corruption.
Use the Real Estate Register.
From 2020, EITI member state need to collect data and identify the real owners of all mining companies operating in Armenia.
This means that there will be real people on the upper levels of the corporate ownership chain who are living in Armenia or abroad.
One can use that data to find out who the politicians behind the scenes of the mining industry are.
Investigate what infrastructure projects are funded by earnings from mining.
EITI reports should provide detailed information on what products, services or infrastructure projects are provided in exchange for the right to use mineral resources.
Journalists can use this information to identify some complex and dark details.
Find out if there are risks for corruption in the extraction state-owned stakes in the market.
EITI reports demand the disclosure of the value and volumes of natural resources sold by the state.
This will give journalists the opportunity to find the potential illegalities in the state-owned mining industry market.
For example, underestimated or intermediate sales can be linked to politicians.
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