STRASBOURG, France The European Parliament has voted to mandate that European companies that extract nonferrous metal ores anywhere in the world must disclose payments over 100,000 ($133,140) per year made to governments starting in 2015.
The new rules are part of a reform of the European Unions accounting directive, which has been backed by an overwhelming majority of members of the European Parliament.
The rules will apply to any company extracting natural resources, including mining, oil, gas and logging companies. Under the new law, annual reports of ore-extracting companies will be required to disclose payments on a country-by-country and project-by-project basis. The types of payments to be disclosed include income, production and profit taxes, royalties and licence fees.
Jean-Claude Katende, national coordinator of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) branch of Publish What You Pay, said he welcomed the rules.
"We have copper and cobalt, which are mainly extracted by European companies," he told AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin. With the United States and European Union adopting the rules on disclosure of payments made to the Congolese government by U.S. and European companies, 90 percent of the companies extracting resources from DRC are now covered by transparency rules, Katende said.
"This is history in the making," said Arlene McCarthy, British Labour member of the European Parliament.
"We only have China left," Katende added, noting that he was hoping to convince the Congolese government to include a similar transparency rule in national legislation. This would oblige Chinese companies operating in the DRC to also disclose their payments to the Congolese government, he said.
"This is a wake-up call for legislators and businesses," McCarthy said, adding that she hopes that similar legislation will be passed by more regions and countries in the world.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.