sharing in governance of extractive industries

Screening hidden beneficial owners: six key steps for government

As government representatives from across Africa gather in Dakar for the EITI regional conference on beneficial ownership, Transparency International releases a new guide for governments on how to use beneficial ownership data to combat corruption in licensing decisions.




Access the factsheet here.

Governments are the custodians and gatekeepers of a country’s mineral wealth, which they are to manage in the public interest. The licensing phase of a mining project is a critical moment when governments decide who will be granted the right to explore and extract the country’s resources. But the process and system for awarding these rights can be vulnerable to corruption.


Transparency International’s global Mining for Sustainable Development (M4SD) Programme combines research with multi-stakeholder engagement to enhance transparency and accountability in mining sector approvals.


Our research in 18 resource-rich countries revealed three critical and often related corruption risks:

1.       Licence applicants are controlled by undeclared or hidden beneficial owners

2.       Politicians and senior government officials conceal their assets or interests in mining companies

3.       There is inadequate due diligence on applicants’ integrity and compliance history


This factsheet outlines why corruption risks significantly increase when the identity of those who own, control or benefit from companies holding rights to a country’s valuable resource wealth is hidden from the public.


It outlines six key steps governments can take using beneficial ownership data to combat corruption when deciding who and under what conditions to award mining sector licences, permits and contracts. The factsheet provides practical guidance to governments to strengthen their systems for screening the integrity, character and track record of applicants.


This factsheet is a resource to complement the practical discussions and sessions by experts and practitioners in Dakar this week and beyond.


There is strong interest in this topic. Around 70 people from industry, civil society and government in 33 countries attended a workshop on Screening Hidden Beneficial Owners to Combat Corruption in Oil, Gas and Mining co-hosted by Transparency International, the EITI and the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) at the recent International Anti-Corruption Conference (access the presentations here).


By implementing robust screening mechanisms to make effective use of beneficial ownership information, governments can make real strides in strengthening integrity and combatting corruption in their country’s mining sector.


Download the factsheet here.


Source material:

·         E. Westenberg and A. Sayne, Beneficial Ownership Screening: Practical Measures to Reduce Corruption Risks in Extractives Licensing (New York: Natural Resource Governance Institute,


·         C. Votava, J. M. Hauch, and F. Clementucci, License to Drill: A Manual on Integrity Due Diligence for Licensing in Extractive Sectors (Washington D.C.: World Bank, 2018).

·         A. Readhead, Methodological proposal for enhancing integrity due diligence in the extractive sector (Bonn: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), (2017).


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