sharing in governance of extractive industries
Reflecting on common themes emerging from Cape Town's Mining Indaba and the Alternative Mining Indaba 'counter-summit', Fitsum Weldegiorgis sets out six ways to keep momentum going, for driving a profitable African mining sector that also delivers for its people.
The Investing in African Mining Indaba provides an annual match-making platform for investors, financiers, governments and the world's largest mining houses. Commonly known as the Mining Indaba, the conference leads to billions of dollars' worth of investment in Africa's resource-rich mining industry.
In the same week, the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) creates a space to address issues that the Mining Indaba has, in the past, repeatedly ignored – the struggles of poor communities affected by mining activities, environmental damage and the lack of effort to make mining operations sustainable.
The two events running in parallel highlight the industry's 'great divide': sharp-suited deal-makers on one side of the city, marginalised mining communities on the other.
But this year, themes common to both events indicate there are areas where the profit-driven and the people-centred are starting to converge.
For the first time, the Mining Indaba agenda included a 'Sustainable Development Day' when AMI participants, including civil society organisations and mining communities, were invited to discuss how to make mining a catalyst for socio-economic development.
But held on the conference's last day, most major investors and government representatives – whose support is critical if we are to see real change in the sustainability of mining operations − had already left. Meanwhile, the poorly organised sessions did not allow for meaningful, interactive debate.
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