At the global level, attention is increasingly focused on the impending resource scarcities driven by demographic explosion, climate change, environmental degradation and shifts in consumption patterns. The anticipated bottlenecks and constraints – in food, water, energy, and other critical natural and mineral resources as well as infrastructure – are bringing new geological, political and economic challenges for companies in the extractive sectors. National and local responses to the perceived impending resource crunches are also changing the established patterns of relations between producers and consumers of these resources.
At this critical juncture, it is imperative for all the stakeholders - whether governments, companies, local communities - to examine afresh and in depth these developments.
To explore these new challenges, Chatham House is undertaking a detailed study of three vital questions:
- What are the challenges around defining 'equitable' shares of mineral wealth, whether in terms of the division between host governments and operating companies, or among national government, local communities and operating companies?
- Would perceptions of resource scarcity and company provenance change relations between investing companies and host governments in the extractive sector?
- Mineral rights (including oil and gas) around disputed territories (e.g. Falklands, South China Sea, Horn of Africa, etc) and the potential ramifications for corporate reputation for companies operating in these areas.
The project will involve a number of high level workshops and is intended to result in a publication that will reassess the new context in which governments, companies and local communities negotiate the extraction of vital minerals.