Why this site: In the extraction and exploitation of mineral and petroleum resources, the legal framework governing the relationship between governments and oil, gas and mining companies includes licenses, contracts, agreements, leases and concessions. These documents affect everything from specific tax calculations to the responsibilities shared by governments, local communities and companies.
Extractive sector contracts, even when publicly available, are often published on the websites of companies or government agencies, or in filings at security exchanges. The contents of these deals are not only often difficult to discover; even when publicly disclosed, the resources available to assess the key provisions of such contracts and compare them with other contracts may be limited.
With full-text contracts and related expertise scattered or entirely absent, governments and citizens in resource-rich countries lack the means to learn from others’ past successes or missteps. This can result in a critical lack of knowledge for governments as they try to negotiate the best terms for their citizens. Until now, there have been few tools available to meaningfully compare one contract to another and develop new levels of knowledge.
The response: This repository of mining and petroleum contracts has been developed to fill the knowledge gap by providing searchable contracts in machine-readable format with rich metadata and annotations to provide key insights about each contract. In order to make the content of these often-lengthy documents more accessible we have developed a rigorous approach to categorizing each contract and annotating each contract’s environmental, fiscal, operational and social provisions. It is important to note that not all information about a project will be included in the contract. Certain terms and obligations are often to be found in other parts of the legal framework, such as national laws and regulations.
Our partners: The new ResourceContracts site is developed in partnership between the World Bank, the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment. We are grateful for the input and contributions from a wide array of organizations including Global Witness, Oxfam, Publish What You Pay International, Open Oil, Open Contracting Partnership, Cadasta, The Carter Center, Open Corporates, African Mining Legislation Atlas and the World Resources Institute, among others. Young Innovations has developed the site as an open source platform which is available for others to use under an open source license. The site provides extensive search features and an overview of both metadata and annotations for the contract.
Get involved: As the site grows, we are eager to hear from you if you have suggestions for oil, gas and mining contracts which should be added to the site. You can get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org.