Australia partners with Africa to realise the benefits of its expanding mining sector
30 August, 2012
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bob Carr, with Ms Susan Shabangu, South Africa's Minister for Mining at the Africa DownUnder Conference in Perth this week.
Dr Stuart Bull (from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Ore Deposits, University of Tasmania) explaining drill core logging to African geologists at Kinsevere, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as part of the West African Exploration Initiative. The Australian Government is supporting capacity building in geochemistry, exploration and geology through the Australian-led initiative. Photo: Dr Alana Goode / AMIRA International, 2008
In the resource-rich countries of Africa, revenues from the mining sector can help to unlock significant social and economic benefits, reduce poverty and support progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The extent to which these benefits actually drive development depends heavily on how countries manage their mineral assets, control the social and environmental impacts of mining and whether they ensure the resulting revenues are used sustainably and equitably.
Like Australia, around two-thirds of African countries have experienced rapid growth in mining over the last few years. Between 2000 and 2008, the value of natural resource revenues in Africa rose from $39 billion to $240 billion, and the continent holds around 30 per cent of global mineral reserves.
The African Union (AU) has taken steps to address the challenge of sustainability through the adoption of an African Mining Vision and Action Plan. Additionally, in July 2012 the AU Executive Council endorsed the establishment of the African Minerals Development Centre to promote the implementation of the Vision.
Opening the 2012 Africa DownUnder mining conference in Perth yesterday, Foreign Minister Bob Carr said Australia supports the African Union’s efforts to ensure sustainable economic growth and social development through the transparent and equitable use of mineral resources.
During his address, Senator Carr announced that Australia will provide $5 million to support the establishment of the Centre as part of the assistance Australia is providing under its Mining for Development Initiative.
'As a world leader in mining with significant development expertise, Australia is well placed to work with the centre, with our ability to draw on more than 100 years of experience in sustainably harnessing natural resources to promote our own economic growth and development,' Senator Carr said.
The Centre will help African countries achieve economic growth and deliver social benefits to the people of Africa through effective governance of the mining sector.
The Centre will promote and coordinate the implementation of the Vision, through providing policy advisory services, research, training, workshops and broad technical assistance to African governments in developing their mineral resources. Areas of specific focus will be:
- geological and mining information systems
- governance and participation
- artisanal and small-scale mining
- creating linkages between African countries to share experiences
- creating investment and diversification opportunities
- building human and institutional capacity
- communications and advocacy.
Australia’s own International Mining for Development Centre is standing by to support the Centre and explore opportunities for partnership, collaboration and knowledge sharing in helping to promote the sustainable regulation of the African mining sector.
Australia is partnering with the African Union, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank in the establishment of the Centre.
The Canadian Government’s international development agency, CIDA, is working alongside us to support the development of the business plan to establish the Centre.
Last Reviewed: 30 August, 2012