The Federal Government has announced it will be increasing its support, both domestically and internationally, for greater degrees of transparency in the mining and resources sector.


The Federal Government, in consultation with state governments, industry bodies and non-governmental organisations, will be undertaking a pilot of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).


Launched in 2002, EITI has been implemented in 11 countries. It promotes and supports improved governance in resource-rich countries through the full publication and verification of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas, and mining.


Under the EITI pilot, Australia will assess the transparency of its financial reporting arrangements for the resources sector against EITI principles, considered a global benchmark for natural resource revenue management.


"Transparency and accountability are key for developing countries to reap the full benefits of their resource sector. Well regulated, the sector can not only provide economic growth but also broader development benefits by funding basic services like health and education,"  Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said.


"Australia will also provide $12.7 million to support the international advocacy of EITI, including supporting developing countries with the technical challenges of implementation."


Commencing on 1 July 2012, the $500, 000 EITI pilot will be funded by the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism and will be overseen by a steering committee of federal and state government representatives, industry and non-government organisations.


Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson also announced the launch of a new handbook on Social Responsibility for the Mining and Metals Sector in Developing countries.


"The handbook is a guide for best practice in social responsibility for resource companies operating in developing countries, to ensure communities receive long-term benefits from mining," Mr Ferguson said.