Large-scale mining of minerals and metals are threatening protected areas, and corruption is often to blame. International donors must engage with governments, mining companies and local stakeholders to encourage transparency and accountability around restrictions and concessions. Donors are well-placed to promote adherence to international laws and initiatives designed to safeguard biologically- and culturally sensitive areas. Government agencies need technical and financial support to develop monitoring systems. Supporting national authorities to clarify protected area laws can benefit affected inhabitants, give predictability to mining companies, and improve law enforcement.