Message from the Director

Twenty-first century negotiations for mining projects should seek to achieve sustainable outcomes for all stakeholders: governments, communities and mining companies. That’s the key message in the IM4DC Handbook ‘50 pieces of advice to an official who is engaged in the negotiation of mining contracts’, which will be released at the Africa Down Under Conference in Perth in early September.

As the foreword of the handbook says: governments of resource rich countries have a responsibility to be well prepared and knowledgeable in contract negotiations for natural resource extraction and long-term land leases – not just for the sake of securing a balanced financial deal, but to promote high standards in labour and human rights, environmental protection, health, safety, transparency and fiscal management.

The easy-to-read handbook provides practical advice to government officials involved in the negotiation of mining contracts on how to obtain long-term sustainable benefits from mining projects.

The basic tenets advocated in this handbook include: be prepared; ask questions; seek assistance; engage community; be as transparent as possible; look for added and shared value.

It has been produced in collaboration with the Governments of Cameroon and Liberia, and The University of Western Australia, Faculty of Law. The principal author is Professor Fabien Nkot, from the University of Yaounde II and the Cameroon Prime Minister’s office.

This project, the Africa Resources Negotiation Network and the associated capacity-building by IM4DC in cooperation with others such as IDEP and AMDC, and supported by the Australian Government, had their genesis from an intervention by Professor Nkot at the 2012 Mining for Development Conference in Perth, with delegates then agreeing that negotiation capacity-building has a high priority. A roundtable hosted by the Government of Cameroon followed and it agreed on priorities for negotiation capacity-building.

IM4DC is most grateful to HE Philemon Yang, Prime Minister of Cameroon for his strong support for this project. It is an excellent example of the collaborations that have emerged from the work of IM4DC with partner institutions around the world.