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ICMM members paid over $23 billion in taxes in 2020 — report

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The 28-members of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) reported total tax payments of $23.7 billion in 2020, an effective tax rate of 39.7%, and an increase of 5% paid in 2019.

This increase results from lower profitability in 2020, driven by a decline in commodity prices.

The latest report, produced by PwC, found that between 2013 and 2020, ICMM members paid more than $185 billion – comprising corporate income tax of $119.1 billion and royalties of $66.4 billion – to tax authorities across the world.

The ICMM also reports its members have committed anew to disclose all mineral development contracts from January this year, wherever they operate. The commitment represents a significant step up in mineral resource governance commitments by about one-third of the global mining and metals industry.

The new commitment requires members to disclose contracts they have committed to, what taxes they must pay and when payments are due. Members are also encouraged to disclose mineral development contracts granted or entered before that date, the ICMM stated.

This new commitment builds on ICMM’s existing membership requirement on ethical business practices and sound systems of corporate governance through the disclosure of tax and royalties as set out in ICMM’s mining principles.

It forms part of the ICMM’s Transparency of Mineral Revenues Position Statement, representing a leadership position aligned to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). This organization addresses critical governance issues in the extractive sectors.

“Contract and tax transparency are two critical components of a safe, fair and sustainable mining and metals industry, representing two sides of the same coin,” ICMM CEO Rohitesh Dhawan said in a media release.

“The former allows citizens to understand what should have been paid, and the latter enables them to see what has actually been paid. Underpinning this is consistent, transparent disclosure, which is why ICMM has also published its annual tax contribution report for 2020.”

EITI chair Helen Clark noted such disclosure had been a requirement for EITI-implementing countries since January 1, 2021.

“With both countries and companies now committing to their publication, we hope to see accelerated progress in this vital area of transparency. Publishing contracts is a powerful weapon against corruption, enabling contracts to be compared, and creating a level playing field for business,” said Clark.

“Transparency incentivizes governments to arrange fair contracts with reputable companies, drafted in a way that is consistent with the country’s legal framework and deters officials from concluding contracts that are disadvantageous or result in personal gain. In the energy transition context, contract transparency will also enable governments and stakeholders to assess how the extraction of raw materials will influence their ability to reach climate change targets.”

Oxfam Extractive Industries Global Program associate director Maria Lya Ramos added that if citizens of resource-rich countries could scrutinize the decisions made by governments on their behalf, those decisions would more likely be to their benefit.

The IMCC has 28 mining and metals company members and over 35 national, regional and commodity association members.