The GOP just gave ExxonMobil a giftLast week, Senate Republicans in the United States voted along party lines to get rid of the Dodd-Frank rule that forces huge oil and gas companies to disclose how much they pay foreign governments while they’re doing business abroad.Now, you can be excused if you feel like the urgency for killing this specific rule seems to have come out of nowhere. Arguments for getting rid of Dodd-Frank — the 2010 legislation meant to help protect taxpayers from another financial crisis — usually involve helping overregulated community banks that can’t lend, or helping small businesses get loans.Secretary of State Rex Tillerson when he was chairman and CEO of Exxon. (REUTERS/Mike Stone/File Photo)The arguments usually do not involve helping massive oil companies like ExxonMobil keep its dealings in foreign countries secret. Yet getting rid of this rule was first on the agenda.“The fact that that’s what they’re singling out for their attack tells you where their agenda is heading. It tells you that they’re not serious about what they say they want to do,” said Michael Barr, a professor of law at the University of Michigan and expert on financial reform. “It’s not that they want to unleash lending in the US, it’s that they want to let Wall Street firms do whatever they want. It’s not helping families or small businesses.”A CEO’s work is never doneIn 2010, as this rule was being written into Dodd-Frank, Tillerson, then the CEO of Exxon, visited Richard Lugar, then the Republican senator from Indiana — one of the rule’s architects — in hopes that it would never see the light of day.According to Politico, Tillerson argued that forcing his company’s dealings with foreign governments into the light would hurt its competitiveness in the market.But Lugar was undeterred. By forcing transparency, he hoped that governments in poor, resource-rich countries would also be forced to give their people a fairer shake. Exxon continued to lobby against the rule. It expressed its displeasure to the Securities and Exchange Commission in a comment letter in March 2016, when Tillerson was still CEO.That aside, it could be considered a political success. After the rule was passed in the US, the European Union, Norway, and Canada followed suit with their own versions. That means a lot of Exxon’s competitors have to disclose to someone, even if not to the US government. Even state-owned Russian firms have to adhere to this rule to operate within the EU.Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California pointed all of this out in a statement last week admonishing Republicans for rolling back the rule.“That rule helps fight corruption in the extractive industries sector, provides investors with crucial information on their investments, and enables citizens to demand greater accountability from their governments for spending that serves the public interest,” she said. “It also helps to diminish the political instability in resource-rich countries, which is not only a threat to investment, but also to our own national security.”She also said that non-state actors like ISIS benefit when oil money falls through the cracks, and that resource-rich countries like Venezuela and Angola have become unstable because of corruption and a lack of transparency in their energy sectors. (Business Insider) Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedUS helping Guyana write rules to govern multi-billion $$$ transactions – Huffington PostJanuary 19, 2017In “Business”Guyana got “peanuts” for oil as ExxonMobil gains more – JagdeoDecember 29, 2017In “Business”Renegotiating ExxonMobil oil contract may be difficult – Jagdeo assertsJanuary 2, 2018In “Business”
Canadian Mandalay Resources implemented RCT’s ControlMaster® teleremote and guidance systems to substantially increase ore recovery at its Costerfield gold-antimony mine in Victoria, Australia. The Costerfield mine is a narrow vein operation which requires drives to be kept to a minimum width to minimise ore dilution. It was this requirement that made reaching ore in some areas quite difficult. In addition to this, the site’s drilling and blasting practices, designed to ensure operator safety also meant about 25% of ore remained in the stope, out of safe reach from the loader under manual operation.Upon using RCT’s guidance simulator to review Costerfield’s mine site plan layout it was discovered that many areas that had originally been scaled back after being deemed inaccessible, were in fact accessible with machines equipped with RCT’s smart technology. Implementing RCT’s ControlMaster® on its Sandvik LH203 has enabled the operator to control the machine from the safety and comfort of an RCT built operator control station underground. The systems allow operators to successfully navigate the previously inaccessible narrow drives at a greater speed, with ease, all while avoiding contact with the walls; eliminating machine damage. The operators’ ability to switch from guidance to teleremote mode to load the once unattainable ore from the stope, also contributed to substantially raising productivity. In addition to minimising machine damage and increasing productivity, the systems have evolved a safer mining method. RCT Account Manager Geoff Steele said both site management and production people were extremely pleased with the results.RCT’s systems increased ore recovery to 95% in blind uphole stopes at the Costerfield mine site.“Apart from improving ore recovery from previously inaccessible areas, Mandalay is pleased to give staff the opportunity to learn new skills of operating teleremote loaders, in the air conditioned environment of the teleremote operator cabin,” said Costerfield Operations Mine Manager Melanie McCarthy. “This improves safety outcomes for our loader operators because the Sandvik LH203 loaders are currently open cabin loaders.”It was Mandalay’s first project with RCT, but not its last. Following on from the overall success of the project Mandalay has decided to progress with a second full teleremote and guidance systems to be installed onto a second loader, along with a second new operating station.