EJN on the Move | News

5th Alternative Mining Indaba Kicks Off

E-mail Print

BusiaCAPE TOWN – More than 200 members of mining communities, civil society organizations, faith groups and inter-faith organizations are meeting in Cape Town, South Africa from 4 to 6 February to host the 5th Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) at the Ritz Hotel in Cape Town. The AMI is a response to the African Mining Indaba, the largest mining investment conference in the world, and aims to highlight the social and environmental impacts of mining in Africa.

The theme of the 2014 AMI is “Our Resources. Our Future. Putting Local People First.” The forum will provide a dialogue for communities and civil society organizations to discuss progress made in improving the social, environmental and economic impacts of mining on communities. In particular, the 2014 AMI will provide an update on the efforts that countries are making to avoid a repeat of the 2012 Marikana massacre in South Africa.

The 5th annual Alternative Mining Indaba brings together communities from mining areas, civil society and faith groups to discuss the social and environmental impacts of mining in Africa.

 

The Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) seeks to provide a space to question whether the captains of industry in the mining sector have indeed been good stewards through the way they execute business. Community concerns, environmental degradation, methods and consistency in payment of taxes, human rights concerns and sustainability are but a few issues which the Cape Town gathering seeks to unpack. Moreover, the AMI also aims at popularizing the African Mining Vision adopted by African Heads of State and Government which represents a paradigm shift in the approach to mineral resource extraction on the continent.

The Alternative Mining Indaba platform, which was formed in 2010, seeks to discuss and understand the stakes involved in exploiting natural resources. The platform goes beyond profits, mergers and acquisitions with a focus on community development strategies, calling for good governance of revenues and in particular seeks to define and find ways to implement ethical policies in the extractive sector value-chain, thus creating conditions for a positive economic and social outcome, while avoiding any negative environmental and social effects.
Four years ago organizations in the Southern African region agreed to collaborate in raising concerns about the manner in which natural resources are extracted by holding an annual Alternative Mining Indaba. The Economic Justice Network, through the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa and others, committed to mobilizing faith communities to analyse the inconsistencies in the extractive sector by providing a platform where communities could freely discuss their experiences with mining activities. “The manner in which the mining industry has treated (and continues to treat) mineworkers is not acceptable,” says Brother Chris Molebatsi, from the Marikana community said. “The Marikana community is an example yet not an exception. The AMI is an opportunity for mining communities to galvanise their courage and come up with strategies to resist this exploitation by our governments and multinationals".Mining is a huge industry in Africa: 
24 of Africa’s 54 countries rely on 8 per cent of global mineral production to generate more than 75 per cent of their export earnings.1 

Billions of US dollars of foreign investment have been channelled into the African mining value chain during the past 19 years of the Mining Indaba.2

 • The continent hosts about 30 per cent of the world’s total mineral reserves and an even higher portion of the global deposits of diamonds, vanadium, manganese, platinum, cobalt and gold.1 
Despite this, mineral wealth has not translated into better living and working conditions for people living on the continent:

•The quality of life of a citizen in sub-Saharan Africa ranks among the lowest globally, according to the UNDP. Most communities involved in exploration have poor access to running water and electricity, community roads are neglected, and health and education infrastructure are inadequate for primary care and schooling.

 • Worker unrest is growing, as was seen during the August 2012 Marikana miners’ strike where 44 people died. 

Mining has led to soil erosion, depleted water sources, affected aquatic life, accelerated desertification, increased pace of river siltation and water and air pollution.• Communities have been forcibly evicted from their ancestral, agricultural and grazing land, negatively affecting livelihoods, endangering food security and destabilizing social systems.

Corruption is also hampering growth: the Africa Development Bank and Global Financial Integrity reported that Africa lost more than $1.4 trillion in illicit financial flows between 1980 and 2009.3 The mining and extractive sectors are frequently plagued by corruption and contribute significantly to that figure.
“Mining operations must benefit the countries where they operate by creating jobs, generating revenues and then reinvesting in health, education and infrastructure,” says Thembinkosi Dlamini, Governance Manager at Oxfam South Africa. “Instead, mining companies and governments have too often been externalizing profits and internalizing environmental impacts.” Since 1994, financiers, investors, mining professionals, government officials and other interested parties have attended the annual African Mining Indaba. This event is said to be the “preferred destination to conduct important business and make the vital relationships to sustain investment interests”. “Mining operations must benefit the countries where they operate by creating jobs, generating revenues and then reinvesting in health, education and infrastructure,” says Thembinkosi Dlamini, Governance Manager at Oxfam South Africa. “Instead, mining companies and governments have too often been externalizing profits and internalizing environmental impacts.” Since 1994, financiers, investors, mining professionals, government officials and other interested parties have attended the annual African Mining Indaba. This event is said to be the “preferred destination to conduct important business and make the vital relationships to sustain investment interests”. “Africa is gaining momentum and seems unstoppable in its quest to reverse the ‘resource curse’. But the captains of the mining industry need to be held accountable,” says Rev Malcolm Damon, Executive Director of Economic Justice Network. “The Alternative Mining Indaba is a result of the commitment across civil society groups to bring accountability and transparency to the mining sector.”

Please Contact:

Mandla Mbongeni Hadebe

Programmes Manager

Economic Justice NetworkOf the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa

(FOCCISA)

Tel: +27 21 424 9563

Fax: +27 21 424 9564

Mobile: +27 73 997 8660

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Alt e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Skype:  mandlahadebe

 

9th CSF in Malawi - acting together, ensuring accountability!

E-mail Print

The 9th civil society forum (CSF) will be held from 11 - 15 August in Malawi, the in-coming chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The forum will be held under the theme the SADC We Want: acting together-ensuring accountability. This theme is taking forward the broader campaign on the SADC We Want that the SADC Council of NGOs will be rolling out at the national and regional levels in the next five years. Economic Justice Network of FOCCISA will be attending and contributing to the programme. For more info click here for the concept note .

 

Botswana Alternative Mining Forum

E-mail Print

By Nsama Chikwanka

The Botswana Council of Churches (BCC) hosted their first Alternative Mining Forum/Lekgotla in Gaborone from the 24-25th June 2013. The AMI was well attended, with the over 90 participants representing civil society, students, clergy, central and government officials, mining companies, community leaders, mining professionals, the media, and solidarity from representatives of Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The theme of the forum was ‘Mining in Botswana; towards promoting justice and sustainable development.’

The purpose of the forum was to provide an alternative space for stakeholders to identify and discuss some of the challenges in Botswana’s Mining/Extractive Industry Sector. The space also sought to share information on achievements, policy gaps and strategies that could help promote natural resources’ governance, transparency and sustainability. Moreover participants were encouraged to create and strengthen linkages for regular dialogue between the various Government Departments, Civil Society, Communities and key stakeholders in the Mining Sector.

Prof. Grynberg, from Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA) presented a very enlightening paper on the gaps and opportunities in the Botswana mining industry highlighting the need for the country to consider diversifying into either copper or Coal mining. He argued that so far, mining was doing it for the country’s economy especially if it has to survive the threat that synthetic diamonds from India and China pose to global prices.

Read more...
 

Capital Flight and Pro-poor Development in Angola

E-mail Print

By Rumbidzai M. Masango

The Centre for studies and Scientific Investigation (CEIC) of the Catholic University of Angola (UCAN) and Norwegian Church Aid Angola hosted an international conference on capital flight and pro-poor development in Angola on the 18th of June.

The one day meeting saw the Angolan government illustrate its commitment to fight capital flight by having Mr João Boa Francisco Quipipa - Director of International Studies of the Ministry of Finance to officially open the event on behalf of the Minister. The international conference was attended by over 150 participants, 15 regionals, with CSOs, FBOs, Churches, academics, customs, immigration, banks especially the Central Bank of Angola and media.

Mr. Tom Cardamone the MD of Global Financial Integrity (GFI) presented on the reality of Illicit Financial Flows (IFF), focused on the African perspective, explained that the GFI does not claim to know the levels of abuse of transfer pricing by MNCs specifically. Adding that their figures exclude cash transactions and smuggled funds and thus their figures are actually conservative. He said that GFI estimates that in 2010 between US$783BN and US$1,4TR flowed out of African countries. Their findings show that countries with natural resources such as oil producers have high incidents of IFF.  Mr. Cardamone explained that Southern Africa accounts for about 27,5% of IFF from Africa with the top three countries being South Africa, Angola and Zimbabwe. He stressed that the shadow financial system enabled the movements of money using several methods to create a web and layered system to discourage tracing and tracking. Some examples of components in the system included tax havens, falsified pricing, fraudulent foundations/charities, money laundering, anonymous trusts and so on.

Read more...
 



More Thoughts

Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. - Desmond Tutu