African Mining Indaba 2016: Focus on safety, child labour, environment, community compensation

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Article
25 February 2016

Report from Alternative Mining Indaba shows disconnect between community groups, intl. NGOs, mining companies

Author: Ida Westphal, Research & Legal Affairs intern, Institute for Human Rights and Business

"Alternative Mining Indaba Shows Meaningful Company-Community Dialogue Remains a Key Challenge"

The 7th annual Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI)...hosted by the ecclesiastical Economic Justice Network...8-11 February 2016 in Cape Town...brought together about 300 representatives from international and national civil society organisations...[and] mining affected communities from across Africa. The AMI was held in parallel to the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba (Mining Indaba), the biggest mining conference on the African continent with more than 7000 attendees. The AMI seeks to draw attention to the virtual exclusiveness of the critical discussions on the future of African mining that take place at the Mining Indaba mostly reserved to companies, business associations and government representatives...

Since 2010 the AMI has shifted its strategy from confrontation to dialogue, now stressing the importance of communication between CSOs/communities and businesses in the spirit of becoming...partners that disagree...but who nonetheless manage to work together...

Despite these efforts, companies did not attend the AMI... The AMI organisers also struggled anew in 2016 to convince business representatives to officially receive the final AMI Communiqué at the end of the traditional protest march to the Mining Indaba...

AMI dialogue also spotlighted a disconnection between the international human rights framework and...the effects of mining activities on the ground as seen by civil society organisations. There was a perceptible mistrust by the AMI delegates towards international instruments such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and the Africa Mining Vision... [D]elegates made a demand for a new inclusive and internationally binding legal instrument on human rights.

...[It] was the World Bank Group and the German development cooperation agency, rather than human rights organisations, who hosted a side event during the Mining Indaba on human rights and mining...

One of AMI’s successes is the establishment of national (NAMIs) and provincial (PAMIs) mining indabas which are the foundation of the work of AMI in participating countries. Country reports throughout the AMI reported successful examples of companies and governments engaging in dialogue in these contexts, especially in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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Article
9 February 2016

Environmental laws to be better upheld

Author: Dineo Faku, Independent Online (South Africa)

Representatives of mining communities have called for mine executives to be sued in their personal capacity for environmental damage done to communal land... Matome Kapa, an attorney at the Centre for Environmental Rights, said mining companies were failing to adhere to environmental legislation and the government had failed to enforce environmental laws... In a landmark court ruling, the mining director of Blue Platinum Ventures in Tzaneen became the first mining boss to be found guilty of breaking environmental laws in 2014... [Mining companies' social & labour plans] were not catering for communities, said Louis Snyman, an attorney and member of the Wits University’s Centre for Applied Legal Studies... “After the Marikana massacre we found SLPs are not being fulfilled. Normal people cannot access information...” Anglo Platinum chief executive Chris Griffith said it had consulted extensively but could not find a single voice that represented communities. [also refers to Aquila Steel]

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Article
8 February 2016

Mines Exploiting Child Labour In Africa - Mining Entrepreneur Radebe

Author: Jay Caboz, Forbes Africa

Mines exploit child labour in Africa and the world is doing little about it. This is the clear message from mining entrepreneur Bridgette Radebe, executive chairperson of Mmakau Mining, after the inaugural United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) breakfast round table, in the shadow of Table Mountain, running alongside the Mining Indaba. “I don’t want my daughter, nephew and nieces to stand up at my age and say we didn’t do enough,” says Radebe... Social impacts such as poor living conditions, forced labour in unregulated mining and sexual exploitation remain prevalent issues according to Lindiwe Mokate, Commissioner of the South African Human Rights Commission... "...We have complaints from schools failing to be relocated, to environmental degradation of toxic water in Gauteng. Closed mines have caused houses to cracker and sink holes where children have drowned...,” says Mokate.

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Article
8 February 2016

Safety in focus at Mining Indaba

Author: Dineo Faku, Independent Online (South Africa)

Mine safety may top the agenda when South Africa hosts the annual Mining Indaba in Cape Town today in the aftermath of the mining disaster on Friday where close to 100 workers almost lost their lives. Job cuts, the uncertain regulatory environment and the further deterioration in commodity prices are also expected to be on the agenda... Calls for government intervention intensified following an accident on Friday. Three mineworkers were trapped underground and 87 others were rescued after a shaft at the Vantage Goldfields Lily Mine caved in near Barberton, Mpumalanga... Organised labour lashed out at mining houses for lax safety arrangements, and Zwane called for the companies to step up safety measures. [also refers to mine worker deaths at Impala Platinum, Harmony Gold]

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Article
5 February 2016

'Malawians should benefit from mining industry'

Presidential aide on Civil Society Organisations and on NGOs, Mabvuto Bamusi, say the Head of State wants Malawians to fully benefit from the mining industry...[while] speaking in Lilongwe during an extraordinary Alternative Mining Indaba... Bamusi said the President has demonstrated his stand by committing himself to Extractive Transparency Initiative (EITI)... 

This year's National Alternative Mining Indaba was held on 2 and 3 February... Some of the issues discussed...include...[the] Importance of Prior and Informed Consent on issues of displacement, resettlement, compensation...

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Article
5 February 2016

Mining communities out in the cold over compensation

Author: [opinion] Brendan Boyle, University of Cape Town’s Land and Accountability Research Centre, on BusinessDay (South Africa)

When the Mapela community’s long fight with Anglo American Platinum turned violent in September, a new and still unoccupied old-age home donated by the company was one of the buildings that went up in flames. With it went the sympathy of many who might otherwise have cheered the Limpopo community’s effort to save a school they had built and paid for under apartheid from being buried beneath a mine waste dump... The context for the...[community's] fight for a decent share of mining’s riches is laid bare in a report due for...release...by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand. [It] confirms the perception among mine-hosting communities that the state’s strategy to democratise the benefits of mining is failing... [The] centre’s year-long analysis of...social and labour (SLP) plans [by mining companies states,] "Communities have the right to determine their own development agenda, and their opinions must be constructively and effectively considered and incorporated"... The report shows that...failure [to implement the plans] is a pattern across the industry, where initial promises can be downgraded with the permission of the mining minister — and with no notice to the community... It also underlines the almost total lack of transparency in the drafting, execution and monitoring of such plans... The centre identified seven key areas in which the system is failing...

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