* Executives says Trump stance conflicts with global trend
* Transparency provides "social licence" to operate
By Ed Stoddard
CAPE TOWN, Feb 9 The expected demise of
transparency regulations for minerals and oil companies listed
in the United States will not cloud the global drive for
financial clarity in extractive industries, company executives
told Reuters at an Africa mining conference.
Efforts to shine a light on payments such companies make to
foreign governments are considered key to eliminating graft,
conflict and the so-called resource curse - the distressingly
common failure of less developed countries to translate mineral
wealth into wide prosperity.
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, however,
has begun dismantling such transparency requirements.
Republican-controlled Congress last week repealed one such
rule and Trump also plans to issue a directive ordering
suspension of another that requires companies to disclose
whether their products contain "conflict minerals" from a
war-torn part of Africa.
But companies with European Union and Canadian listings - or
which work in countries that have signed up to the voluntary
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) - still
have to abide by strict disclosure rules, executives say.
"Over half of our members would fall into this category,"
the chief executive of the International Council on Mining and
Metals (ICMM), which represents 23 leading mining companies,
Companies in this category include goliaths such as Rio
Tinto and Anglo American, ICMM chief Tom Butler
Butler was critical of the Trump administration's actions,
but said they would not derail the broader global push for
"It's disappointing because overall the global trend is in
the other direction. The train has left the station," said
"It is driven by investors and other stakeholders and the
desire of the industry to maintain its social licence to
operate. One way to maintain that is for everyone to see that
the taxes and other payments the mining industry makes are
applied sensibly to the development of the country."
Nick Holland, chief executive of South African bullion
producer Gold Fields, which has a secondary U.S.
listing, said that companies are not about to start altering
"We're going the other way irrespective of the legislation.
We're not going to suddenly start doing deals with illegal
miners to buy their gold," he said.
That view is also supported by Vedanta Chief
Executive Tom Albanese, who said that transparency builds trust.
"It allows for Vedanta to have a richer conversation with
host governments around the world and makes the job of the chief
executive easier in terms of engaging with host governments and
stakeholders, which is one of the biggest challenges a mining
CEO faces right now," he said.
(Additional reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by James
Macharia and David Goodman)