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Mining through an Open Government Lens

Gobierno abierto en clave minera

Pamela Morales|

In recent years, the open government agenda has taken on increasing relevance in mining public policy based on the implementation of reforms, regulations, and tools focused on transparency and participatory dialogue.

Argentina received an award at the EITI Global Conference in June for  the success of its Open Community Information System on Mining Activity (SIACAM in Spanish). Led by Argentina’s Secretariat of Mining, SIACAM strengthens systematic disclosure and open data strategies for the nation’s mining sector to reach citizens with timely, clear, and accessible information.

The country plays an important role in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), leading the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean in the meetings of the EITI Board of Directors. In addition, through the Open Government Partnership, the Ministry of Mining committed to publishing economic, legal, and tax information on the extractive industries. Argentina also committed to evaluating the fiscal costs and benefits of the mining investment regime (Law 24,196), through a methodology co-created with civil society organizations. These efforts and the commitment to transparency and open government led us to launch SIACAM as the first public mining portal.

Promoting transparency is also a commitment to participation. SIACAM started along with the National Roundtable on Mining Open to the Community (MEMAC), a space for public, constructive and federal dialogue. The federalization of both tools and the principles of open government in Argentine mining became fundamental for local governments in the implementation of policies of openness, citizen collaboration, and accountability.

One Click Away

 SIACAM centralizes open data on economic, geological, social, health, and environmental aspects of mining and company payments to the national government in a single platform It also displays seventeen indicators that are updated periodically, covering employment, national and international production, mineral trade, tax contribution, international prices, mining projects, and provincial regulations.

 In this line, SIACAM seeks to consolidate information  at the service of a civil society interested in debating the capacity of the sector and its potential with robust data. The information available on the portal is used in research documents and consulted by provinces,the private sector, and specialized media outlets. 

Today we are faced with a society avid for mining information. In times of strong demand for minerals for the energy transition, making reliable data available is the only way to ensure responsible decision-making.

The global lithium board, where citizens can access lithium mining projects in Argentina and around the world, was recently incorporated into SIACAM. It also offers access to projections of supply, demand, resources, and reserves worldwide, as well as exports and employment of lithium at the national level. Of course, this is only the beginning.

We are convinced that  opening more information generates greater participation and interest in a sector that plays a key role in Argentina’s economic development. The EITI award encourages us to further deepen this agenda, and we hope the OGP Global Summit in September will prompt further discussions to improve transparency in the mining sector.

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