Five lessons for building business integrity in the mining sector

business integrity

2 December 2021

In a new publication, Transparency International’s Accountable Mining Programme brings together five key lessons for business integrity in the mining sector. 

Business integrity in mining 

Business integrity is an integral part of responsible business. A convergence of regulator, investor and consumer demand for responsible mining means that it is more important than ever for mining companies to demonstrate robust business integrity practices. 

Business integrity refers to a company’s policies, procedures and practices for preventing, detecting and addressing bribery and corruption in its business activities.  

Corruption risks in the energy transition 

Growing recognition of the mineral needs of the energy transition in parallel with increasing demands for responsibly sourced minerals and strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance have sharpened the focus on business integrity in the mining sector.  

Corruption risks are present in all mining jurisdictions and some jurisdictions, including those with significant reserves of energy transition minerals, are particularly corruption prone.  

This makes having effective business integrity systems a compliance, commercial and ethical imperative for all mining companies now and into the future. 

Energy transition minerals

A focus on licensing 

The licensing phase of a mining project is particularly susceptible to corruption. According to the OECD, one in four corruption cases in the oil, gas and mining sectors occur during this initial phase.  

To address this problem, Transparency International’s Accountable Mining Programme has been working with stakeholders to tackle the systemic weaknesses in the public and private sectors that open the door to corruption in mining sector licensing and permitting. 

‘One in four corruption cases in the oil, gas and mining sectors occur during licensing and permitting according to the OECD.’

Mining companies can be catalysts for change  

We have seen that mining companies have an important role to play in preventing and detecting corruption. The Accountable Mining Programme has been working with mining companies of all sizes to promote stronger and more effective anti-corruption and business integrity policies, procedures and practices at the earliest stage – when companies are seeking to secure a mining licence or to invest in or acquire an existing project.  

What we have learned 

This paper highlights a selection of lessons and recommendations from our work with the mining industry and is organised around five key lessons for business integrity:  

  1. Corruption risk management is central to business integrity 
  2. To embed integrity in the company, make it everybody’s business 
  3. Business integrity extends to engagement with communities and Indigenous peoples  
  4. Corporate influence over political activities raises alarm bells for integrity 
  5. Greater transparency helps demonstrate business integrity 

By sharing these insights, we hope to promote higher anti-corruption standards and responsible business practices in the mining sector – and contribute to just and equitable energy transition. 

Access the paper here 

Learn more about our work on business integrity including our tools and guides here. 

Photo: Shutterstock