Africa’s mining sector needs transformation

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In order to effectively address the plight of the African continent, a major shift and transformation in traditional mining is required, says Susan Shabangu, South African Minister of Mineral Resources.

“This should entail a shift from the exporting of largely raw material to ensuring that minerals serve as a catalyst for accelerated industrialisation through mineral value-addition.

“This will also require development corridors that are a subject of multi-purpose infrastructure development,” said Shabangu.

Speaking during the opening of the 2nd Annual Mining Indaba Ministerial Symposium held in Cape Town on 3 February 2014, Shabangu noted that financing for the multi-purpose infrastructure development must not be a burden of one stakeholder at the expense of another, as it has been the case in the past.

“It requires clear goals and objectives to be outlined, infrastructure requirements delineated and costed, and partners in development to agree on a creative win-win formula for financing of such infrastructure that will deliver ‘Africa’s Promise’ and enable the emergence of a resilient African continent.”

She further stressed the importance for African mining development to be integrated and interlinked with its infrastructure development initiatives, such as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa adopted by the African Union Heads of State.

The programme, which is led by the African Union and chaired by President Jacob Zuma, seeks to integrate regional and continental infrastructure networks and services to improve intra-trade and promote socio-economic development in the continent.

She pointed out that mineral resources generally occur in remote areas, often characterised by high levels of poverty, marginalisation of host indigenous communities, lack of infrastructure and absence of both physical and social infrastructure.

Shabangu also highlighted the need to establish enduring partnerships between Africa and mining development partners to achieve mutual development priorities, based on respective strengths.

However, she said it is important that the Mining Vision be driven and led by Africans, who must ensure that Africa’s mineral resources are exploited in an equitable and optimal manner that underpins a broad-based sustainable inclusive growth and socio-economic development.

“The exploitation of these resources should be undertaken in a manner that addresses environmental concerns, especially on water and biodiversity and other related mining pollution,” concludes Shabangu.

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