Mining’s contribution to national economies between 1996 and 2016

Magnus Ericsson and Olof Löf publishes article in Mineral Economics.

In several low- and middle-income countries rich in non-fuel mineral resources, mining makes significant contributions to national economic development as measured by the revised Mining Contribution Index (MCI-Wr). Ten countries among the 20 countries where mining contributes most (highest MCI-Wr score) have moved up one or two steps in the World Bank’s country classification between 1996 and 2016. In particular, African countries have benefitted. Socio-economic development indicators also show signs of progress for African mineral-rich countries. This paper provides an update and expansion of an earlier study within the framework of the United Nations University (UNU) World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER) initiative Extractives for Development. Based on the detailed data available for the sector, such as production, export, prices, mineral rents, exploration expenditure and government revenues, an analysis is carried out of the current situation for 2016, and trends in mining’s contribution to economic development for the years 1996–2016. The contribution of minerals and mining to GDP and exports reached a maximum at the peak of the mining boom in 2011. Naturally, the figures for mining’s contribution had declined for most countries by 2016, but importantly the levels were still considerably higher than in 1996. The results of this survey contradict the widespread view that mineral resources create a dependency that might not be conducive to economic and social development. In addition, this paper presents an attempt to use already available socio-economic indicators for African mineral-rich countries to measure socio-economic developments. One preliminary conclusion of this survey is that mining countries perform better than oil-producing countries and non-mineral countries in Africa as measured by these indices of human development and governance.

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