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Barberis, D. 1997 Negotiating mining agreements: past, present and future, PhD Dissertation, University of Dundee.
    © D. Barberis, 1997. Use of any part of this thesis for any purpose must be acknowledged.


The form and substance of mining agreements (MAs) vary considerably and may be adapted to suit the particular legal and socio-cultural framework of a country, as well as the peculiarities of the sector of the mining industry concerned. Developing countries are now relentlessly competing for investment funds, offering attractive conditions for transnational mining companies (TMCs), with bargaining power arguably now shifting in favour of the companies. The developed countries are undergoing a downward shift in their investment priorities, caused by their desire to protect the environment and to guarantee or restore natives' rights. MAs often reflect the political aspirations of governments. A mining investor must know these aspirations and their consequences to be able to make appropriate arrangements from the beginning and allow the deal to be concluded with a minimum of risk and the maximum benefit. The MA is a critical instrument in the investment process. Its form and content reflects the political experience of the host country (HC) and a set of ideologies of various origins. In most cases, these ideologies have formed a "political will" that is the source of a series of strategies and policies which HCs pursue in order to further aims including maximising the benefits it receives from foreign mining investment.

The key role played by national political will in the negotiation of MAs is demonstrated through the analysis of the evolution of MAs in four HCs - Australia, Chile, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea - selected from a list of the ten most attractive countries for foreign mineral investment. These case studies illustrate the impact of fluctuations in political will on the form and content of MAs. The development of the concession system into today's multiple forms of MA arguably reflects the increased desire of Governments over the last thirty years to play a role in the development of their natural resources, essentially through joint ventures or service-contracts


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