At the formal launch of the ResourceContracts.mn contracts portal on 22 April, Mongolia’s deputy minister of mines and heavy industry reaffirmed the country’s commitment to publishing mining and petroleum contracts and announced the public release of over 150 new contracts. After several years of stuttering progress on contract transparency in Mongolia, this is welcome news.
Due to the large sums of money involved, subcontracting carries risks. Procurement deals are less visible and more numerous than the high-profile processes used to award exploration and production rights, and they are harder for government regulators, the media and civil society to scrutinize. They are therefore a common node for corruption.
Unlike in the resource-rich country in the film Black Panther, much of Africa’s mining sector is currently dominated by foreign direct investment; its raw minerals are often exported with limited local participation in the sector and tax revenues are eroded.