Briefing paper

Industry guidelines for Chinese mining companies abroad: paper tigers?

Mining Foreign investment Pacific Area

This In Brief discusses two sets of industry guidelines published by the Chinese government for Chinese companies investing in overseas mining projects. In the Pacific, these guidelines apply to seven mining projects: three in Papua New Guinea, two in Fiji, one in New Caledonia, and one in Solomon Islands.

The guidelines are China’s first industry codes for mining companies operating abroad, and seek to align Chinese companies with other internationally recognised industry standards. If implemented, they could potentially lift the environmental, social, and human rights standards at the sites of these six projects. However, since compliance is voluntary and the guidelines lack any implementation, enforcement, or accountability mechanisms, Chinese companies are likely to ignore the documents, dismissing them as ‘paper tigers’.

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