Australian High Commission dialogues with small-scale miners

The Australian High Commission in Ghana has held a forum to dialogue with stakeholders in the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) sector.

The dialogue is the second Public-private dialogue on mining governance, supported by the Australian government, in partnership with the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET).

The dialogue, which brought together key representatives of government, civil society organisations, mining communities, and industry, discussed two key topics, “How to improve the governance of the ASM sector” and “How to improve public-private partnerships to benefit mining communities.”

A statement issued by the High Commission, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the Australian High Commission’s First Secretary Development Cooperation, Ms. Zabeta Moutafis, officially opened the dialogue, in Accra.

Ms Moutafis said “The purpose of these dialogues is to bring key stakeholders and policy-makers together to discuss the complex issues around mining governance, build consensus, and hopefully lead to improved policies that will benefit the wider community.”

“The extractive sector in Ghana can play a transformative role and contribute to the achievement of Ghana’s development priorities,” the statement said.

The statement said with substantial experience in both mining and development, Australia was well-placed to share its experience with African countries that wished to overcome the challenges and reap the benefits of a growing mining sector.

It said the dialogue session focused on issues such as the impacts and opportunities presented by the small-scale mining industry and galamsey in Ghana and the possible co-existence of small- and large-scale mining in Ghana.

Other issues tackled were the management and most equitable structuring of public-private partnerships between government, extractives companies and impacted communities; and how to prioritise social and economic activities to be targeted by public-private partnerships.

It said case studies and a discussion paper were presented to the group, with the ensuing dialogue moderated by Dr Muzong Kodi from the global independent policy institute, Chatham House.

The discussions highlighted that if managed correctly, multi-stakeholder partnerships could offer opportunities for sustainable, long-term benefits and transformational change within mining-affected communities, the statement said.

It said many of the current risks (health, environmental, social) associated with ASM could also be mitigated through improved regulation so that small-scale mining would be able to better contribute to improved livelihoods for workers and their communities.

It stated that the first dialogue in November 2014 discussed the management of mining revenues.

It said the third and final forum in the Public-Private Dialogues on Mining Governance series had been scheduled for April 2015 and would focus on governance as it relates to Local Content policies.

The ACET is an economic policy institute supporting Africa’s long-term growth through transformation.

ACET’s mission is to promote policy and institutional reforms for sustained and economic growth throughout Africa, so that African countries could drive their own growth and transformation agendas.

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