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March 2014
Volume 66    Issue 3

Geopolitics and the strategic risks to mining

Mining Engineering, 2014, Vol. 66, No. 3, pp. 36-36
Katen, Andrew C.


PREVIEW:

The mining industry faces increasing geopolitical risk in the coming decades. Constraints such as resource nationalism, corruption and social license could grow to outweigh fundamental limitations like geology or supply and demand (Ernst & Young, 2013; Verrastro et al, 2010). Lurking beneath these more immediate and palpable concerns, however, may be more significant risks entrenched in geography and history. Deep-rooted cultural and strategic forces that emerge slowly – or erupt suddenly and unexpectedly – can generate momentous and far-reaching political, social and economic changes. While multinational enterprises routinely assess for political risk, the nature of minerals extraction means long-term and systemic geopolitical conditions are especially important for mining companies to identify and understand. Mine development is a decades-long process that binds companies to the land and makes changing course to avert emerging threats a difficult and costly option. Consequently, geopolitical assessment is a pertinent and valuable tool that mining companies can utilize to more comprehensively evaluate strategic threats and opportunities. 



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