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Fifth Alternative Mining Indaba to focus on the impact of mining in Africa

February 4th, 2014 by Posted in Countries, English
 Families, in desperation, are increasingly resorting to digging for gold. Artisanal Gold-mining is labour intensive, with very basic tools. The gold needs to be separated from the dusty earth or extracted from the rock. What they find will usually allow them to buy just a dish of millet per day. Sirguin, in the north-centre region of Burkina Faso. Andy Hall/Oxfam

Families, in desperation, are increasingly resorting to digging for gold. Artisanal Gold-mining is labour intensive, with very basic tools. The gold needs to be separated from the dusty earth or extracted from the rock. What they find will usually allow them to buy just a dish of millet per day. Sirguin, in the north-centre region of Burkina Faso. Andy Hall/Oxfam

As more Southern African countries discover and exploit their natural resources, investors and governments across the world have renewed their interest in the region. A case in point is the annual Mining Indaba being held in Cape Town from 4-6 February 2014. The Mining Indaba is described as the “preferred destination to conduct important business and make the vital relationships to sustain investment interests.” This is where the movers and shakers in the mining industry meet, talk and network.

While all this is happening, concern over the adverse environmental impacts of mining and the frequent lack of prior, informed consent by affected communities continues to grow. The well-known “resource curse” continues to plague many African countries and Southern Africa needs to ensure that this affliction does not become entrenched in the region. Oxfam, in a recent report has also suggested a link between mineral exports and growing inequality in Southern Africa. It is with these facts in mind that the 5th Alternative Mining Indaba kicks off in Cape Town from the 4th of February till the 6th of February. The event stems from civil society’s pressing need to ensure that the mining industry is transparent and accountable to the citizens of this region. Four key issues need to be addressed:

• African countries need to find ways to capture more added-value from their raw materials and keep more profits from resource extraction activities
• More progress is needed in mining industry corporate social responsibility practices
• More transparency on payments and contracts between governments and mining company is needed
• African governments need to invest more resource revenues to education, health and other human development needs

Read the full “AMI Concept Paper” and “Press Release”

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