Pop-up English-Chinese

Predicament of global mining governance and China’s future choices

LI Li1 DONG Xinye1

(1.Institute of International Economy, University of International Business and Economics)

【Abstract】Global mining governance, as an important part of global governance, is changing in line with the evolving global mining competition. Conflict minerals, transparency issues, sustainability issues as well as human rights, environment protection, community involvements have all become important parts of mining governance rules and practices, which has a significant bearing on the development of international mining industry and benefit distribution in the mining related industries, including the information and communication technology industry and the new energy industry. The present pattern of global mining governance cannot effectively solve the existing problems found in the mining industry and, therefore, it faces several real predicaments, including predicament regarding rights structure, systemic rules and benefit distribution of global mining governance. Since current global mining governance rules mainly reflect the concerns and interests of developed countries and their mining companies, the lack of enough participation from the developing countries, makes enterprises from developing countries, such as China, undertake high risks and costs, and cannot get fair and reasonable benefit distribution. China should take active participation in global mining governance, promote shifting of focus of governance rules toward employee, environmental, social and governance issues, and make the global mining governance rules more balanced and equitable for all stakeholders.

【Keywords】 global mining governance; current dilemmas; future options;


Download this article


    [1]. [1] “Hand mining,” also known as hand-digging and hand-holding, usually refers to the manual operation of miners to collect and excavate ore from the surface. [^Back]

    [2]. [2] The retrieval date was February 21, 2019. [^Back]

    [3]. [1] In 2003, the State Council issued the White Paper of China’s Policy on Mineral Resources, which began to promote the entry of Chinese mining enterprises and mineral products into the international market. In 2008, after the onset of the global financial crisis, China’s mining outbound investment grew rapidly, and peaked in 2013. [^Back]

    [4]. [2] U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, https://www.cftc.gov/sites/default/files/idc/groups/public/@swaps/documents/file/hr4173_enrolledbill.pdf[2019-02-21] [^Back]

    [5]. [3] OECD, “OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affectedand High-Risk Areas,” http://www.oecd.org/fr/daf/inv/mne/mining.htm[2019-03-21] [^Back]

    [6]. [1] OECD, “Responsible Business Conduct-OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises,” accessed on December 3, 2010, mneguidelines.oecd.org/mining.htm[2019-03-21] [^Back]

    [7]. [2] In October 2004, electronics multinationals such as Hewlett Packard, Dell and IBM jointly published the Electronics Industry Code of Conduct (EICC), which consists of a set of basic norms covering labor and recruitment, health and safety, environmental responsibility, management systems and ethics. With the accession of Cisco, Intel, Microsoft and Sony, HP, Dell and IBM and other major manufacturers jointly established the Supply Chain Working Group, which gradually developed into an independent organization to promote standardized socially responsible codes of conduct in the global supply chain of the electronics industry and to conduct supplier audits. [^Back]

    [8]. [3] RMI, formerly known as the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative, is a coalition consisted of 350 enterprises from ten different industries. See http://www.responsiblemineralsinitiative.org[2019-06-21] [^Back]

    [9]. [4] Regulation (EU) 2017/821 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2017, Official Journal of the European Union, 2017. [^Back]

    [10]. [1] http://www.dzwww.com/xinwen/guojixinwen/201711/t20171103_16611297.htm[2019-03-10] [^Back]

    [11]. [2] For the introduction of the accession of the UK to the EITI, see https://eiti.org/united-kingdom[2019-08-10] [^Back]

    [12]. [1] The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), established in 2001, is an international consortium of seven mining companies from developed countries, including Anglo American Resources, BHP Billiton, Freeport and Rio Tinto Group. Currently, it has 26 mining company members and 35 regional commodity associations, 18 of which are from developed countries. [^Back]

    [13]. [2] Founded in 2006, it was established as a joint initiative of NGOs and mineral purchasers, affected communities, mining companies and trade unions. [^Back]

    [14]. [1] Tony McGrew (ed.) Chen, J. (tran.) Marxism and Reality (马克思主义与现实), (1): 33–42 (2002). [^Back]

    [15]. [1] Founded in 2002, the company is focused on promoting transparency in the extractive sector, working with the EITI to promote transparency among extractive companies. [^Back]

    [16]. [2] According to the on-site questionnaire survey conducted by Sun Lihui, the director of the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporters (CCCMC), at the international conference, most of the participants in the conference were in charge of supply chain compliance management of multinational mining enterprises in the downstream. Only three of the 50 people in the room had been to the Democratic Republic of the Congo; these compliance officers were both involved in the development and implementation of the supply chain audit rules for cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [^Back]

    [17]. [1] Huang, H., Xie, W. & Ren, X. Foreign Affairs Review (外交评论(外交学院学报)), (30): 17–29(2013). [^Back]

    [18]. [2] http://www.fortunechina.com/fortune500/c/2018-07/19/content_311046.htm[2019-06-20] [^Back]

    [19]. [3] http://www.fortunechina.com/fortune500/c/2019-07/22/content_339535.htm[2019-08-01] [^Back]

    [20]. [1] Peng, Y. & Chen, Q. China Mining Magazine (中国矿业), (11): 9–14(2014). [^Back]

    [21]. [2] “2018 Annual Report,” http://www.riotinto.com/documents/RT_2018_annual_report.pdf[2019-03-20] [^Back]

    [22]. [3] “Shareholding Sturcture,” May 31, 2019, http://www.vale.com/PT/investors/company/Documents/assets/Shareholding_Structure_May_2019.pdf[2019-08-01] [^Back]

    [23]. [1] http://free.chinabaogao.com/yejin/201803/035322Q52018.html[2019-03-21] [^Back]

    [24]. [2] http://www.cnmn.com.cn/Show News1.aspx?id=406224[2019-03-21] [^Back]

    [25]. [3] Guo, J. The Journal of International Studies (国际政治研究), (1): 51–73 (2015). [^Back]

    [26]. [4] https://news.qq.com/a/20100803/001054.htm[2019-08-01] [^Back]

    [27]. [5] Liao, Y. World Affairs (世界知识), (9): 26–27(2013). [^Back]

    [28]. [1] Views are derived from feedbacks of internal colloquium from mining companies. [^Back]

    [29]. [2] According to the relevant person in charge of the JISCO Group, for these enterprises using imported iron ore, iron ore pricing has a greater impact on corporate profits, but for enterprises using domestic iron ore resources, the impact is less. [^Back]

    [30]. [3] Peng, Y. & Chen, Q. China Mining Magazine (中国矿业),(11): 9–14(2014). [^Back]

    [31]. [4] According to the research of Jinchuan Group Ltd., Yunnan Tin Group Company Limited, Xiamen Tungsten Co., Ltd., Jiuquan Iron & Steel (Group) Co., Ltd. and other enterprises, non-ferrous metal ore products are often mined in relatively small quantities, and its price is easily manipulated, but at present it is difficult for Chinese enterprises to have the opportunity to participate in the international pricing of mineral products, therefore, the price of international mineral has a great impact on it. [^Back]

    [32]. [1] Many companies conduct audits in accordance with the “Conflict-free smelter program” to ensure that conflict minerals are not involved in the supply chain. [^Back]

    [33]. [1] Yu. K. Maxism and Reality (马克思主义与现实), (1): 20–32(2002). [^Back]

    [34]. [2] Tony McGrew (ed.) Chen. J. (tran.) Marxism and Reality (马克思主义与现实), (1): 33–42 (2002). [^Back]

    [35]. [1] http://politics.people.com.cn/n1/2016/0903/c1001-28689034.html[2019-03-21] [^Back]

    [36]. [1] National Intelligence Council and the EU Institute of Security Studies, Global Governance 2025: At a Critical Juncture, Atlantic Council, 2010, http://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep03557.1[2019-08-01] [^Back]

This Article


CN: 11-3799/F

Vol , No. 05, Pages 123-143+7-8

September 2019


Article Outline



  • 1 Current status of global mining governance
  • 2 Realities of global mining governance and their implications for China
  • 3 Future options for China’s participation in global mining governance
  • Footnote