Friday, June 18, 2010

National Public Radio Reports on "Conflict Minerals;" A New Challenge for Corporate Supply Chains?

National Public Radio recently broadcast a report on the mining of "conflict minerals," minerals that are extracted in worn-torn countries often under the watchful eye of war lords. "Monitoring Conflict Minerals: Who's Accountable?" (June 15, 2010) is well worth listening to.

As the price of minerals such as gold and tin increase and the need for war lords to restock their financial cupboards continues to exist, this sort of practice is likely to receive greater public scrutiny. One group that seems sure to receive increased attention in terms of where their minerals are coming from is the high tech industry. It should surprise no one when shareholders begin to ask corporate executives whether they fully understand their own supply chains.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mining Investment Risk Rising in Australia: "Resource Super Profits Tax" Debate Heats Up

The political debate in Australia over the government's proposed "resources super profits tax" is now well underway.

As characterized recently in the Financial Times ("Australian super tax increases investment risk," June 3, 2010), "The for mining companies to take on 100 percent of the costs and risks associated with their investments but pay more than 50 percent of the gain to the government." Anyone interested in the intersection of nation state tax and resource policy with mining company investment decisions should read the article.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has argued that such a tax would be fairer to the Australian people. On the other hand, the major mining companies operating in the country are uniformly against it.

Does this portend a more difficult investment environment for mining companies? One way to look at it is that if Australia can do this, then anyone can (and may).

Monday, June 14, 2010

"The Environment & Intellectual Property:" Financial Times Publishes Special Report Explaining the Linkages

As reported by the Financial Times, "Green technologies are often heavily dependent on intellectual property." As a result, those interested in green technologies are well advised to me familiar with the trends involving intellectual property.

An FT special report "The Environment & Intellectual Property" was published June 4, 2010. Among the key stories:
  • "Protecting ideas is crucial for eco-technology to succeed"
  • "Green issues are still a concern for food buyers"
  • "Moral good, financial gain"
Everyone interested in resources issues -- be they green energy, mining, or oil and gas -- should be reading the Financial Times on a daily basis. There is simply no better global coverage to be found anywhere of these issues.