Understanding What is at Stake

At a Glance

  • The first step toward planning a resource corridor is to assess the players involved and determine how extractive-financed infrastructure investments fit into local, national, and regional infrastructure plans.

  • Planners would do well to consider the industries related to upstream, side stream, and downstream processes, and the potential for better connecting these with extractive projects, thus creating deeper linkages with the domestic economy.

  • Identifying shared infrastructure platforms can promote economies of scale, potentially reduce environmental disruption, and create the basis for cost-sharing arrangements.

  • A well-functioning resource corridor requires not only shared use arrangements for the transport infrastructure involved, but significant hard and soft infrastructure investments from the various stakeholders, including the government.

Key Resources

Topic Briefing

Similar to the case of transport infrastructure, the government’s first step in planning a resource corridor is to identify the relevant actors and assess how infrastructure investments financed by the extractive industry fit into the local, national, and regional infrastructure plans. The government must carefully review whether the geographic area surrounding the transport infrastructure has growth potential, and what resources the various stakeholders need to unlock this potential.

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Spatial development initiatives that use geographic information systems (GIS) to map out potential economic activities can provide useful support. This mapping should focus on analyzing the potential for upstream, side stream, and downstream industries linked to extractive projects, as well as economic activities that are not linked with extractives but could benefit from improved access to infrastructure. Such analyses should also consider how infrastructure access could lead to increased mobility between population centers—and how these transport solutions can increase trade with neighboring countries.

GIS can be used to support corridor planning. An aspirational plan should be developed for the next 10 years of national development; it should specify the necessary infrastructure (including power, roads, rail, energy, ports, fiber-optic cables, and mobile telephone networks) and how the various infrastructure networks (e.g., transport, ICT, energy) overseen by different ministries can interact to promote corridor development. This can help identify the potential for shared-use infrastructure platforms between natural resource concessionaires and other users. Identifying shared infrastructure platforms can promote economies of scale, reduce environmental disruption and create a basis for engaging other partners, designing cost-sharing arrangements, or informing policy.

As outlined in the overview of this subtopic, a well-functioning resource corridor requires both shared-use access regulation to the transport infrastructure, and significant hard and soft infrastructure investments by various stakeholders (including the government).

Therefore, a detailed cost-benefit analysis that also assesses the opportunity cost of government spending in other areas (or along other infrastructure corridors) needs to be undertaken. Negative social and environmental externalities should also be included in such assessments, with appropriate costing methodologies. The documents prepared for the Nacala Case Study, which can be found in the Key Resources of Creating Resource Corridors , illustrates the details that should be included in such plans.