HATCHER, Pascale. 2012. "Taming Risks in Asia: The World Bank Group and New Mining Regimes", Journal of Contemporary Asia, 42(3), pp.427-446.
Despite the admonishments of the 2003 Extractive Industry Review, the World Bank Group (WBG) has continued to promote the expansion of mining activities in resource-rich client-countries. While maintaining its mantra on the economic benefits of the sector in cash-strapped countries, in recent years poverty reduction and environmental sustainability have become the new buzzwords to justify the need for the WBG to remain actively involved in the sector. Building on the cases of the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Lao PDR, this paper analyses this new socio-environmental narrative in conjunction with the highly political nature of the role played by the WBG in the mining sector of its country-clients. The cases demonstrate that the World Bank has played a key role in influencing a wave of new mining regimes in the region. Further, these new regimes, which comprise multilateral social and environmental safeguards, circumscribe the risks faced by industry, rather than by local populations. While successful in stimulating foreign investments in the sector, these regimes might prove ineffective in taming local and national resentment against mining activities. Crucially, the engineering of mining regimes and norm-settings in multilateral arenas raises concerns about the legitimacy of the transformations of roles and responsibilities assigned to local mining stakeholders and the possible subsequent contraction of local political spaces.