Mining Indaba may sound so obscure in the minds of many Ghanaians. For the past 25 years this unique and extraordinary conference has been organized in Cape Town, the beautiful resort tourist and legislative capital of the Rainbow Nation, South Africa.
Africa Mining Indaba is the world’s largest mining investment conference and Exhibition event. It is dedicated to the successful capitalization and development of mining interests in Africa and serves as an assemblage of investor moguls, mining companies, governments, diplomatic community, the media and other stakeholders from around the globe to learn and network toward the realization of advancing mining on the continent. Mining Indaba is also dedicated to solving educational infrastructural development on the African continent, careerism, as well as sustainable development in Africa.
GUEST SPEAKER (2019)
Realizing the commitment to sustainable mining in his home country Ghana, the organizers of Mining Indaba in collaboration with the government of South Africa, agreed to invite President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo- Addo, as the guest speaker for this year’s event.
The ‘’Show Boy’’ of contemporary Ghana politics didn’t disappoint. He was in full flight and the packed to capacity auditorium, with others watching on the large screens within the Exhibition hall applauded in unison on the ‘’straight- to- the point’’ address.
Hear him: ‘’ with so many minerals, it’s not surprising that mining has always played an important role in our lives. For centuries, our minerals have been the attraction for foreign adventurers, enriching their monarchs and aristocrats.
He continued ‘’ the pursuit of gold and other minerals has reduced many of our forests, degraded lands, some of our rivers to polluted water bodies and diamonds from our land are now labelled blood diamonds, and pointed out the irony of African continent that, even though so rich in minerals yet remains the most deprived areas in the world”.
It is the fervent hope of Ghana’s President that foreign investors with their technology must be conscientious in their contracts with African governments and mining communities since the mineral deposits belong to the people of Africa and there must be a win-win situation to satisfy all mankind.
He opined that Africans need not to be poor for foreigners to be rich. The President also announced the setting up of Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation as well as the Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation, which with appropriate investors shall exploit the large bauxite and iron ore deposits respectively.
RAMAPHOSA’S 10 MINING COMMANDMENTS
For the first time in the history of Mining Indaba, a sitting President in South-Africa graced the event. The South- African leader, the business-friendly, Cyril Ramaphosa, issued a 10- point recommendation to the mining investment community that will inure to the benefits of the African people who are the true and legitimate owners of the mineral resources tucked in the bowels of the continent.
They were as follows:
- That there is the need to sign genuine mining contracts to restore confidence in the relationships between governments, foreign investors, trade unions, and mining communities.
- That foreign investors and mining companies must forge partnership with local governments in their area of mining operations.
- That there’s the need for mining companies to restore, secure and ensure energy sustainability of the mining industry and mining communities.
- That mining companies must boost the property rights of both their investors and the people within the mining communities.
- That mining companies must invest in housing in the mining communities for miners and their families.
- That Investors must invest in capacity building for all mine- workers.
- That mining companies must safe guard the health needs of all mine-workers and their families.
- That mining companies must safe guard the safety and personal security of mine-workers and mining communities.
- That mining companies must encourage mine-workers to become shareholders in their companies.
- That Investors must de-politicize mining operations to prevent unrest in the various wards prior to municipal, provincial and national elections.
It is the view of this writers that these ‘’commandments’’ may not exclusively be conductive to only South-Africa but are equally relevant to all countries on the continent.
The presences of the world’s large-scale mining companies were equally felt with Newmont being exceptional. The Executive Vice President: Sustainability and External Relations of Newmont, Mrs. Elaine Doward-King who in a progressive statement intoned that Newmont can partner African governments to achieve goals on sustainable mining.
She assured that taxes and royalties from gold-mining shall be re-invested in local communities as part of the corporate social responsibilities eg. building of schools, hospitals and other infrastructural projects that can also create investments in mining communities.
CHAMBER OF MINES
The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana’s Chamber of Mines who doubles as Executive Director of ECOWAS Chamber of Mines, was also exceptional in his delivery at a forum organized by the African Development Bank on the topic ‘’Mineral Value Chains for Africa’s Development’’. Mr. Souleyman Konney stated that African governments needed to get the optimum value from gold mining, but unfortunately lacked the technology and technological know-how as well managerial skills in the mining space which had deprived the continent from maximizing profits to the fullest.
Citing Guinea with the world’s largest Bauxite deposit as an example, Mr. Konney said Guinea needed vigorous infrastructural development, especially in the area of energy supply which was expensive and needed an extensive capital injection in the exploratory chain.
He called on all governments on the continent to invest in energy to ensure a win-win situation with the foreign investment community and also called for value-addition to all mineral explored and possibly expansion of their market especially in the West Africa Sub-Region.
For the benefits of the uninitiated, this writer would like to give a brief roll-call of some selected minerals on the African continent, the country of origin as well as their uses:
- GOLD- South-Africa, Ghana, others (Boost country foreign reserve / used for ornament etc.)
- DIAMOND- Liberia, Ghana, others- (wrist watches etc.)
- BAUXITE- Guinea, Ghana, others- (Aluminium products etc.)
- URANIUM- Namibia, Botswana, others- (Arms & Ammunition etc.)
- COLTAN- Congo D.R, Rwanda, others- (Cell- Phones etc.)
- LITHIUM- Ghana, Guinea, others- (Car Batteries etc.)
- LIMESTONE- Ghana, Guinea, others- (Cement products etc.)
- SALT- Ghana, Nigeria, others- (Costic soda for pharmaceutical industry etc.)
Revelations were made in various deliberation at the Mining Indaba on the illegal mining menace. It is estimated that South-Africa loses an amount of $41 million (2017 figure) in illegal mining popularly referred to as ‘’galamsey’’ in Ghana.
So is similar bad story told in Nigeria, Sierra- Leone, Liberia and worst in Congo D.R. In an interaction with a cross- section of South-African journalists at the Water front Resort Centre in an evening rendezvous, the following were some of their remarks; ‘’Your [President in Ghana is a very progressive lender. He is committed to the fight against illegal mining ably backed by the Ghanaian media. You people are doing a fantastic job in Ghana to save the land for future generations’’.
Fellow compatriots, we need to doff our hats to the tenacity of the ‘’Media Coalition Against Galamsey’’ in their relentless fight against the illegal mining menace which is a threat to our lands, rivers, forests and environment.
The writer is the Executive Secretary) and Rapporteur General, Media Coalition Against Galamsey in Ghana.
By Kenteman Nii Laryea Sowah
Back From Cape Town S.A.