February 11, 2007
Accountability where it counts...
Gold miner calls for regulation of ‘rogue NGOs’
By: James Montgomery in Davos
Published: January 25 2007 13:19
The damage caused by “rogue NGOs” - social and environmental activists that lack the accountability of established pressure groups - is “getting to be incalculable,” Peter Munk, chairman of Barrick Gold, the world’s largest gold miner, warned on Thursday.
The rapid proliferation of small groups that did not explain their funding, aims or methods had created an urgent need for a system of regulation that would hold them to the same standards of transparency as the companies and governments they criticised, he argued.
Mr Munk voiced his concerns at a closed session at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday. But in an interview with the FT he said: “Mining, unfortunately, is not like creating software or video games. We are exhausting existing resources and we have got to find new areas to mine.
“These NGOs are threatening more and more projects, and the local population is left behind with no hope.
“NGOs must subscribe to and accept the same level of transparency as we do.”
Mr Munk stressed that well-established groups such as Amnesty International and the Sierra Club played an invaluable role and adhered to high standards of behaviour. But the past decade had brought a rapid increase in the number of smaller organisations whose activities not only impeded economic development in some of the poorest countries in the world but also created in effect a new “global tax” by raising the price of all raw materials.
He called for national governments and mining industry bodies should work towards a system of regulation for these groups in the same way that previous initiatives had successfully curbed unscrupulous practices by small businesses and misleading consumer advertising.
Copyright 2007 - The Financial Times Limited