APEC's main goal is to ensure the growth and development of the regional economy by promoting trade and investment liberalization, commercial facilitation, and economic and technological cooperation within the region. The mining industry actually has a significant influence on economic growth and prosperity in the APEC region as the world's largest production and consumption area of mineral resources. Furthermore, the minerals and metals produced and consumed in the region account for approximately 70% of the total global output. The domestic economic growth of several economies rely on the trade and investment of such minerals and metals. Most of all, the mining and trading of mineral products between APEC economies have long rendered significant contributions to the overall economic development of the Asia-Pacific region.
The APEC meeting of ministers responsible for mining is an important platform for high-ranking officials in the Asia-Pacific region to gather to discuss policy planning regarding mining development within the region. In 2004, the first APEC meeting of ministers responsible for mining was held in Chile, which was then followed up by meetings in South Korea (2005), Australia. (2007), Russia (2012), and China (2014), for a total of five meetings of mining ministers. All of these meetings have made considerable contributions to trade and investment liberalization related to mining, mineral exploration and development, sustainability and innovation with mining activities, and environmental protection, and social responsibility, among others. The 6th APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Mining (MRM6), entitled "Embracing Inclusive and Sustainable Mining and Development in the Digital Age," was held in Papua New Guinea this year (2018). In addition to following the theme of “closer cooperation and growth” in 2014, the main focus was placed on promoting the participation of local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mining supply chains in order to cope with the digital age. Through sustainable mechanisms, regional cooperation can be strengthened to bring about long-term benefits to all stakeholders while ensuring protection of the environment and all people. Therefore, the focus is to abide by the principles of tolerance and sustainable growth to keep up with the innovations of the digital era. In addition to obtaining economic benefits, both the environment and people need to be protected in order to ensure the mining industry's long-term development. Furthermore, the focus of the discussions fully extended from the spirit of the joint announcement made during the APEC Ministerial Meeting in 2017. Based
on the importance of sustainable development, use, and trade for social and economic benefits, APEC will continue to implement the “APEC Mining Policy Principles" and encourage best management practices, the voluntary sharing of technology, and construction for the sustainable development of
To meet society's needs for minerals, metals, and energy products, mining activities must be socially, economically, and environmentally responsible. Business interests must reflect the values of the relevant communities and must be transparent, fair, and socially acceptable. Therefore, this paper recommends that the guiding principles of APEC for promoting the development and management of regional resources (mining) should focus on the progress of the following aspects:
1.Corporate social responsibility of the mining industry
Mining enterprises should improve the living standards of mining residents, participate in the construction of mining infrastructure, support education, health, and medical development, provide the locals with employment opportunities, and assist mining residents to develop related industries based on local advantages.
2.Development of the mining industry 4.0
The massive use of automated robots, sensor loTs, supply chain Internet, sales and analysis of production big data, and human-machine collaboration should be adopted to enhance the mining industry value chain's productivity and quality.
3.Environmental protection of the mining industry
Encourage the development and promotion of production technologies that employ non-emission and low-emission pollutants in advance, actively carry out greening and recovery activities afterwards, develop a circular economy in which wastes are handled scientifically and recycled for reuse, thus realizing the reduction, harmlessness, and recycling of wastes.
4.Mining safety and health
Encourage the development and promotion of production technologies that employ non-emission and low-emission pollutants in advance, actively carry out greening and recovery activities afterwards, develop circular economy in which wastes are handled scientifically and recycled for reuse, thus realizing the reduction, harmlessness, and recycling of wastes.
Assess the aspects of mining management, energy utilization, community identification, environmental protection, and crisis management, among others, to measure the quality and strength of the management within the mining enterprise.
The global economy has begun to enter a recovery period, while each country with major mining resources is experiencing signs of recovery for exploration and development. To promote the development of the national mining industry to increase the government's fiscal revenue, many countries have actively adjusted their fiscal, taxation, and investment policies and have adopted such positive measures as amending mining regulations, adjusting mining taxation, and formulating preferential investment policies, as well as passed institutional innovation and guidance to facilitate mineral exploration and development and to realize a win-win scenario between the government
and enterprises. Under this trend, our country needs to think about the formulation of mining policies in order to actively respond to the adjustments of global mining policies, focus on government functions, and fully utilize market mechanisms to promote international multilateral cooperation to
ultimately achieve the goal of mutual benefit.
(Bo-Chin Chang is an Assistant Research Fellow at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research)