Issues regarding the mining industry periodically become the center of attention in media.
The sector will continue to be highlighted in the coming years, as his year Armenia must publicize it’s Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) national report. This report will be prepared by an independent evaluator. It will compile data provided by state authorities on one hand, and mining companies on the other hand .
Armenia has been a candidate country for the EITI since March, 2017. The purpose of this international standard is to improve the open, accountable management of natural resources throughout the world.
In joining the initiative, Armenia has until January 1 of 2020 to provide a public register of the true owners of metal mining operating companies.
How should the sector be covered? What should we pay attention to? In response to these questions, Hetq reporter, Kristine Aghalaryan shared the EITI and the Armenian Process manual which was prepared by the American University of America Responsible Mining Center and the Media Initiatives Center.
10 Recommendations for those reporting on the mining industry:
Instead of an introduction, at the base of journalistic materials or stories are people and the surrounding environment.
- Visit the affected community (the activities in the surrounding environments may possibly impact the population of the area), involve people and investigate as to what kind of affect the specific mine has had on the average resident in the community.
- Mining companies always strive to make a small investment and earn big profits. Examine their “attitude” towards nature, what areas have they taken and how are they using them?
- Before that, study all the documents from the preparation stage until the exploitation of the mines, compare the promises made to reality.
- There are some open sources of documents, but do not hesitate to make inquiries and request information you need from state agencies and mining companies. The mining companies will treat your inquiries the way they treat mining-related issues, including the affected communities and damage caused to the surrounding environment.
- In order to understand how much the extractors are more or less affiliated with the government, send inquiries to the relevant state agencies for inspections of the mining companies, (Ministry of Nature Protection, State Revenue Committee, Ministry of Energy Infrastructure and Natural Resources). Ask when or how frequently inspections are made, what they have discovered and what they sanctions have imposed.
- Investigate lawsuits, cases that mining companies are involved in. Sometimes the important ingredients for your material can be found here.
- If the mining companies have foreign registration or operation, try to find publications on the organization in international press, study the data bases and litigation cases in the countries they operate in.
- Talk to experts and environmentalists, they often point out important angles which are in need of deeper investigation.
- Try to include a health perspective, by investigating the statistics on the state of health of people in affected communities. Sometimes you have to collect those statistics.
- At the end, don’t forget to give the mining companies an opportunity to respond.
Finally, fact-checking is a mandatory condition.
Beyond the parenthesis or perimeter, do not forget to build the material around people and nature.