(Question No. 2686)
Senator Ludlam asked the Minister for Foreign, upon notice, on 4 February 2013:
(1) To what extent is Australian-supported special skills training in Rwanda connected to Rwandan mining operations in or pertaining to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
(2) Has the Government made any attempt to make economic co-operation with Rwanda conditional upon an end to Rwandan interference in DRC.
(3) To what extent have Australian mining companies that are operating in Rwanda or DRC adhered to the due diligence guidelines for the responsible supply chain of minerals, to mitigate the risk of providing direct or indirect support for conflict in the eastern part of the DRC, established by the Australian Government in 2010.
(4) To what extent have Australian mining companies adopted the measures recommended by the guidelines.
(5) How does the Government monitor the conduct of these companies.
(6) Is the Government's engagement with Rwanda compliant with the principles and criteria of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and how is this monitored.
(7) To what extent is the conduct of Australian mining companies in DRC and Rwanda compliant with the principles and criteria of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and how is this monitored.
Senator Carr - the answer to the Honourable Senator's question is as follows:
(1) Australia has provided three forms of mining-related skills assistance to Rwanda, none of which is directly connected to Rwandan mining operations in or pertaining to the Democratic Republic of Congo. First, Rwandan officials were beneficiaries of Australian training opportunities. In 2012, nine Rwandan officials participated in mining governance study tours to Australia (none so far in 2013), two officials received mining governance-related short course awards (one so far in 2013). Second, AusAID contracted an expert consultant for a period of one week to review the curriculum of the Diploma in Mining Engineering at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology. Third, AusAID contracted an expert consultant for a period of four weeks to conduct a mining skills assessment and provide advice to the Rwandan Ministry of Natural Resources on the best structure for their Mining Industry Skills Council.
Australia is currently negotiating a package of technical support to the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, of which both Rwanda and DRC are members. This support will focus on supporting the implementation of the Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation and Trade in Natural Resources, which is working to find a sustainable solution for the conflict minerals issue.
(2) Australia's development assistance to Rwanda is targeted at individual and community-level beneficiaries in the areas of human resource capacity-building, maternal and child health and food security. We have made clear to the Rwandan Government our view that all external interference in the Democratic Republic of the Congo should cease.
(3) The Government encourages adherence to the due diligence guidelines. We are unable to report on the level of compliance with the guidelines.
(4) see (3)
(5) see (3)
(6) The EITI principles provide guidance on how governments will engage with civil society and industry operating in a country's extractive industries to product an EITI report. The EITI principles do not provide guidance on how Governments of sovereign states should interact with one another.
(7) The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a voluntary global standard for transparency in the mining, oil and gas sectors. It requires oil, gas and mining companies in implementing countries to declare the payments they make to governments and governments to declare the revenues they receive from companies. These revenue figures are independently verified and reconciled in an annual report which implementing countries are required to submit to the EITI Secretariat. Compliance with these standards is a matter for the EITI Secretariat and EITI International board.
(Question No. 2686)