Scraping the Barrel… 8 August 2012

Today’s barrel scrapes include: the Colombian government’s attempts to clean up the mining industry despite opposition from, well, everybody; how Kurdish statehood should not be taken as a given following their new oil profits; and we highlight model contracts and mining regulations made available online from the Extractive Industries Sourcebook project. More below…

In 2011, Colombia’s mining industry took some time out, as Juan Manuel Santos’s government stopped accepting new mining applications and took some time out to review previous applications, cracking down on companies who hadn’t paid the correct amount of fees. Earlier this week, the hiatus came to an end as Colombia’s new Mining Agency began accepting requests for competitive bids, tightening up controls and trying to clean up the industry and encourage foreign investment. Plans for a new mining code next year have caused some shockwaves; while they are looking to formalise and legislate small scale mining, unions and associations have been striking, asking for stricter environmental regulations. The government is sticking to their guns however, and insists that this will all change once everyone sees the benefits of the new mining code.

Revising a much talked about issue at the moment, Denise Natali writes that predictions of oil profits in the Kurdish north leading to Kurdish statehood are oversimplified. While international oil companies might be providing them with money, the real decision power lies with regional states, especially those with Kurdish populations of their own. Additionally, domestic trends in Iraq, such as growing Iraqi nationalism, will only lead to ongoing political limbo rather than, as some have predicted, the birth of a new Kurdish state.

Oil geek alert!! Disclaimer- this isn’t news. It is, however, a gem of a resource (pun intended) for the oil, gas or mining regulations geeks among you. The EI Sourcebook has been going for a while and includes a vast range of information about the extractives industries. Here, we wanted to flag up their collection of Mining and Gas laws from around the world (a total of 62, and counting!)- as well as the array of Model Contracts (23 in total). The Sourcebook is being constantly updated, so keep an eye on it.

To check out previous news roundups, see the Scraping the Barrel series.

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