UK’s Cameron wants ‘global standard’ on energy payments disclosure

“This will encourage more investment in resource-rich countries and level the playing field for business,” he writes.

The column arrives as European officials are completing standards that will require oil-and-gas, mining and logging companies to report payments to foreign governments.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has already finalized a U.S. version of the rules that apply to SEC-listed oil-and-gas and mining companies, but they remain under legal challenge by oil industry and business groups.

The SEC has also completed separate rules to force manufacturers to disclose whether they rely on minerals – tantalum, tin, gold and tungsten – from war-stricken parts of Africa. But those are also under court review.

“We ... need to make sure that mineral wealth in developing countries becomes a blessing, not a curse. It is to the shame of the whole world that a lack of transparency allowed the illicit diamond trade to fuel appalling conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia,” Cameron writes.

“Today, we have a duty to make sure that resource wealth does not fuel conflict, corruption and crime,” he writes.

The various efforts are aimed at boosting transparency to help undo the “resource curse,” in which some impoverished countries in Africa and elsewhere are plagued by high levels of corruption and conflict alongside their energy and mineral wealth.