Over the last two years, Economists at Large has undertaken a number of pieces of work looking at economic assessments of mining projects. These are usually done in response to Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) prepared by project proponents. Economists at Large is typically asked to assess the economics chapter of EIS’s by community groups that may be concerned about the impacts of a project and the purported benefits and costs.
Having undertaken so many of these counter-assessments, we’ve spotted a number of consistent themes that result in misleading figures being presented to the public and the various planning departments around Australia.
To rectify this issue and empower communities and other stakeholders, we are looking to launch a project that would create guidelines or standards for economic assessment of mining projects. Some of the issues we would tackle are:
- The importance of assumptions.
- Sensitivity analysis.
- Appropriate definition of scope.
- The use of indirect impacts and input-output, simple multipliers or CGE modelling.
- Distributional impacts.
- Valuing non-market costs and benefits.
- And more.
The purpose of the guidelines would be to help all stakeholders understand the true nature of the economic impacts of a particular project against best-practice standards in economic project assessment.