African mining ministers agreed at the second African Union (AU) Conference of Ministers Responsible for Minerals Resources Development held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in December 2011, to reform their policies in support of the Africa Mining Vision.
A draft agreement named ‘Addis Ababa Declaration on Building a Sustainable Future for Africa’s Extractive Industry; From Vision to Action’, acknowledges significant contributions that mining business could make to “broad-based socio-economic development and achievement of millennium development goals” set by global agencies and sustainable development agreements.
The policy vision could dictate developmental state mechanisms to “integrate mining into broader social and economic developmental processes”, reports New Vision in Uganda.
Funding for African mining sheq
The Addis Ababa Declaration calls on AU member states to “create a mineral sector that is environmentally friendly and socially responsible, through strengthened environmental, health and safety standards, as well as through monitoring implementation of environmental and social funds.
The experts called on mining companies operating in Africa to adopt good corporate governance and adhere to the Sustainable Development Charter of the international Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). They endorsed the action plan of the Africa Mining Vision (AMV), reports New Vision in Uganda.
Africa may adopt BBBEE
States agree that minerals, being finite resources, must be “used for the benefit of present and future generation… [by] prudent, transparent and efficient development and management to meet Millennium Development Goals, eradicate poverty, and achieve rapid and broad-based sustainable socio-economic development.”
South Africa had taken stringent steps by legislation and by state and semi state procurement and contracting rules, since achieving democracy in 1994, to enforce black economic empowerment (BEE), and more recently broad-based BEE (BBBEE).
Among the results are enrichment of black elites, ‘fronting’ by well connected individuals, and exodus of skilled white citizens, and an increase in the number of small black owned mining companies struggling to deliver profit and other social benefits.
African states probe profit and tax export
The Addis Ababa Declaration prioritises methods to stop profit export and tax dodgers, calling on African Union member states to “create the fiscal environment that enhances mineral revenue accruing to African mining countries, to help finance African growth and development by optimising tax packages, without discouraging mining investment.”
These aims would be achieved by “building capacity to negotiate improved fiscal provisions, arrest tax leakages, and effectively monitor compliance with taxation laws.
More African mining research and training
Signitories request AU member states to ”scale up efforts to enhance human and institutional capacities, through improved support to institutions for mineral research and development, human resources development, and those supporting mineral development in general”.
Regarding training, the ambitious plan aims to “strengthen cross-country accessibility of learning programmes as well as collaboration in research and development.”
Support for artisanal miners and small mines
Regarding informal jobs, African mining ministers now call for “a viable and sustainable artisanal and small scale mining sector that contributes to growth and development, through improved artisanal and small mining policies and technical, financial and business support programmes, as well as targeted capacity building support for small miners.”
African mining specialists are drafting measures for transparency, accountability, access to information, public participation and capacity building programmes for local communities, civil society and legislatures, aiming for “effective oversight to create a well-governed mining sector that is inclusive and appreciated”.
PHOTO; A gold nugget in the hand of an artisinal miner. While the Afrivcan Union and many states standardise mechanisms aimed at harnessing multinational corporate behaviour to more directly benefit citizens, small mines as well as informal gold, diamond and minerals rushes threaten to drag mining into industrial, market, as well as health and safety nightmares.