Taken from http://www.revenuewatch.org/news/blog/new-booksprint-creates-guide-understanding-mining-contracts
New “Booksprint” Creates Guide to Understanding Mining Contracts
As more countries come to see the importance of contract transparency in oil, gas and mining, more contracts are becoming available for scrutiny in the public domain. Resourcecontracts.org currently hosts more than 175 oil, gas and mining contracts, and contracts can also be found on the websites of countries like Liberia, Guinea, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Extractive sector contracts have been shrouded in secrecy for far too long, and with new levels of transparency comes increased demand from civil society, media, parliamentarians and government officials for more and better tools to help them understand—and improve—these important legal agreements.
Last week, in a small town on U.S.’s Chesapeake Bay, a group of 14 experts from around the world gathered with the goal of producing a user-friendly guide to help lay readers better understand some of the issues underlying contracts in the mineral sector. A number of important technical tools already exist, to be sure, but this book, Mining Contracts: How to Read and Understand Them, is unique.
The experts wrote the book in five days, from start to finish. They devised an outline on Monday and produced a completed a 215- page book by Friday night. Producing the book in this way enabled the authors to generate a dynamic document benefiting from top-notch expertise—and benefiting from rich debates among people from different perspectives—in a way that would have been impossible with a more traditional drafting process.
The book is intended to be an easy read, to simplify complicated issues and illuminate some of the key considerations in mining contract negotiations. The speedy process means that the book surely has some gaps, and if it reads in places as if it were written by multiple authors, that’s because it was. But this diversity of experience, geography, style and perspective among the group of authors is one of the traits of this process that makes the resulting book so useful. Contributors included a former minister of mines; a current deputy minister of mines; a lead government negotiator; a handful of government advisers with decades of collective experience in mining negotiations; mining company executives; civil society representatives; and a few “laypeople” working to make sure that the text remained readable.
You can find Mining Contracts: How to Read and Understand Them at http://www.resourcecontracts.org/blog/guides-to-contract-terminology.html. Translations will be produced in the coming months. This book is a companion to last year’s book on oil contracts—produced through the same process.
Matthew Genasci is founder of the Mining Policy Group and the former Head of the Legal and Economic Team at RWI.
Contributors to the book included Joseph Bell, of counsel, Hogan Lovells, RWI-NRC and secretary of the Board, ISLP; Zorigt Dashdorj, Mongolia Development Strategy Institute Board member; Matthew Genasci, RWI-NRC; Jeffrey Davidson, Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario; Juan José Herrera Extractive Industries Program Coordinator, Grupo Faro, Ecuador; Michael Jarvis, World Bank; Lise Johnson, VCC; Susan Maples, legal advisor; Herbert McLeod, leader of the Sierra Leone government negotiating team for minerals; Sam G. Russ, Deputy Minister for Operations, Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, Liberia; Salli Anne Swartz, Partner, Artus Wise Partners, Paris, ISLP Volunteer; Perrine Toledano, VCC; Johnny West, Open Oil; and Jeff Wood, Retired Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton and Volunteer, ISLP. The Book Sprint was facilitated by Adam Hyde with assistance from Barbara Rühling.