Mining Contracts: How to Read and Understand Them

In December 2013, a diverse group of 14 experts from Africa, Asia, North America, South America, and Europe worked together for five days to produce a user-friendly guide in English and in French on “Mining Contracts: How to Read and Understand Them.” The guide was produced to help policy makers, civil society, citizens, and the media understand the often complex and opaque terms of mining contracts. With increasing calls for contract transparency – and the growing recognition of the importance of the terms of contracts for resource-rich countries – this guide explains in layman’s terms the principal features of a contract, compares different approaches to key issues, and supplies the context and background necessary for non-specialists to understand how contracts are negotiated and what they say. Senior CCSI Researchers Lise Johnson and Perrine Toledano were among the authors.

This guide was written from start to finish in 5 days using the “booksprint” crash production technique. Gaps, errors and typos will certainly remain, despite the authors’ best efforts. It is a living document, and we welcome comments and critiques to help improve the next edition.

This booksprint was organized by CCSI, OpenOil, the Natural Resource Governance Institute and the International Senior Lawyers Project, with support from Australian Aid, the World Bank Institute, the World Bank Sustainable Energy, Oil, Gas and Mining unit, and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (GMZ) through GIZ.