Purpose – This paper applies a power framework to critically analyse the international accounting standard setting process for the extractive industries. Design/methodology/approach – Publicly available data, including comment letters, annual reports, company websites, and IASC/IASB pronouncements, is used to make connections between the key plays involved in the international accounting standard setting process for the extractive industries. Findings – Lukes’ (1974) conception of power is used to explain the community of interests that developed between the IASC/IASB and extractive industries constituents. This community of interests is shown to have enabled the extractive industries to mobilise its power to paralyse the standard setting body and secure favourable regulation. While the politicisation of accounting standard setting is widely acknowledged, the revelation that economically dominant groups can covertly wield such power is a sobering one in the light of the worldwide promotion and adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards. Originality/value – This paper contributes to understanding of the presence of power in the international accounting standard setting process and how it is mobilised by key constituents.