Last week, Cape Town, South Africa, hosted to two Mining Indabas – the Investing in African Mining Indaba and the Alternative Mining Indaba. CFJ has participated in the Alternative Mining Indaba, which was set up to ensure community voices have a say on how natural resources are used, over the last few years. In fact, CFJ has also helped organise two National Alternative Mining Indabas in Malawi in 2014 and 2016.
This year, CFJ Executive Director Reinford Mwangonde attended the Alternative Mining Indaba and shared Malawi’s experiences on revenue transparency as we recently were given the approval to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative as a candidate country.
The Communique developed during this year’s Alternative Mining Indaba highlighted some key challenges and needs for industry and government to resolve with the support of civil society and communities in the areas of: access to litigation, artisanal and small-scale mining, business and human rights, taxation, and gender equity.
Through the Mineral and Energy For Development Alliance, our Head of Accountability, Policy and Programmes, Rachel Etter-Phoya, participated in the “Emerging Leaders in African Mining” programme, which included a week’s leadership and extractives training alongside other Africans from civil society, government and industry as well as participating in the Mining Indaba and Alternative Mining Indaba.
Of particular interest was the discussions around the African Mining Vision and so-called Neglected Development Minerals:
The UNDP and ACP have started a 3-year project to raise the profile of low-value minerals (industrial, construction and semi-precious stones) because these are often ‘neglected’ by governments even though they contribute significantly to livelihoods (through artisanal, small-scale and medium-scale mining) and to economies (by producing materials needed for domestic markets such as ingredients for fertilisers and materials needed in building). They are valuable because the prices of these minerals do not fluctuate as much as for metals and minerals that are traded internationally.
The Africa Mining Vision was adopted by the African Union Heads of State in 2009 and the African Minerals Development Centre was set up to help domesticate the African Mining Vision through Country Mining Visions. Malawi is just about to embark on this process and it has much scope to make sure mining and extraction is not an end in itself but a means to inclusive, broad-based socio-economic development for this generation and the next.
At CFJ, we are hosting the Publish What You Pay Coalition and recently began work on ensuring communities and their representatives (such as Members of Parliament) are aware of the vision and what the process of domestication entails and that their contributions are counted.
For further information, Rachel also co-authored a piece reflecting in part on the two Indabas for The Conversation, “What’s needed to help mining minnows get off the ground in Africa“.