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So. Africa: Alternative Mining Indaba calls for domestication of Africa Mining Vision; communities impacted by mining say govts. must do more to protect them

The Economic Justice Network of the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa (EJN of FOCCISA), in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (ZELA), Publish What You Pay (PWYP), Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), South African Council of Churches (SACC), Mozambique Council of Churches, Benchmarks Foundation, Diakonia, Council of Churches Zambia, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and Oxfam, hosted the 8th Alternative Mining Indaba in Capetown, from the 5th to the 10th of February 2017.

 The event, which ran on the theme "Making Natural Resources Work for the People: Domestication of the Africa Mining Vision: From Vision to Reality" was attended by more than 450 delegates from non-governmental organizations, churches and community representatives from mainly mining affected communities from across the continent. Participants produced a declaration with demands directed at African governments and mining companies, which was handed over to organizers of the “Investing in Africa Mining Indaba”, where mining executives, government officials, investors and other stakeholders meet to discuss the future of mining in Africa.



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21 February 2017

NGOs call on govts. to introduce stronger laws to allow African countries to benefit from mining

Author: Lusaka Times (Zambia)

"CSOs call on govts to introduce stronger laws to allow African countries to benefit from mining", 13 Feb 2017

African civil society organisations have called governments on the continent to pursue legislation and strong regulatory institutions to ensure that African countries derive their fair share of the benefits of their extractive resources...[R]epresentatives of over 450 CSOs from African countries their international partners marched in Cape Town last week during the closing stage of the Mining Indaba and presented a declaration calling for greater transparency in the extractive industry...

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13 February 2017

Alternative Mining Indaba debates extraction's dark side; activists say mining not benefiting their communities

Author: Rebecca Davis, Daily Maverick (South Africa)

"Alt-Mining Indaba: Extraction’s dark side on display", 7 Feb 2017

On the other side of town there’s a very different sort of event happening: the annual Alternative Mining Indaba, where people affected by mining in less positive ways discuss how best to mount a resistance...“Our government is always on the side of the mining companies and not on the side of the people,” Pondoland activist Nonhle Mbuthuma-Forslund...told the audience. “That’s why we are facing a lot of violence and death. All these struggles, it doesn’t frighten us. We are ready to die for that land.”...Community members from mining-affected villages in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, DRC and beyond took the microphone in turn to sketch out the nature of [the] “trap” [by continued mining activities in their communities]. They spoke of water shortages, of blasting affecting children’s hearing, of a failure to obtain community consent, of vegetation and lifestock destroyed...“Has mining benefitted the community?” asked Malawian activist Paul Mvula. “To answer this question, you just have to go into the community.” Mvula flicked through a slideshow of photos: dysfunctional boreholes, corrupted water sources, abandoned toxic waste sites – and shiny 4x4s driven by the chiefs in mining areas...

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13 February 2017

Declaration of the 8th Alternative Mining Indaba

Author: Alternative Mining Indaba 2017 (South Africa)

...Conscious of the increasing deterioration of the quality of life of communities living in the shadows of mining projects...Concerned with the increasing scale and extent of Illicit Financial Flows [IFFs] from Africa as further demonstrated by the Panama Papers and recent court rulings against major Multinational Corporations (MNCs) and their tax dodging practices which deprive the continent’s resource-rich economies vital investible capital...Hereby call for:

  • We call on our governments to recognise that the economic value of local ownership of mining rights is higher than foreign MNCs... 

  • We encourage communities and their allies to develop alternative environmental impact assessment studies/reports to compare and challenge those prepared by companies...

  • We urge our governments to legislate Corporate Social Responsibility programmes and not view them as philanthropic practices by the private sector...

  • Decriminilisation and regulation of the Artisanal Mining sector...

  • We call on our governments to be transparent and involve the broader nation when negotiating contracts on the extractive sector...

  • We urge companies to recognise that traditional leaders are not community members and therefore they need to carry out proper and thorough consultation. We call on communities to build linkages with strategic key resource professionals such as lawyers and accountants to assist them in their engagement with governments and companies... 

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13 February 2017

"Much ado about responsible mining in Africa yields few results", says leader of the Alternative Mining Indaba

Author: Malcolm Damon, Economic Justice Network, in Mail & Guardian (South Africa)

"Much ado about responsible mining in Africa yields few results", 9 Feb 2017

The African Mining Vision was adopted in 2009 by the African Union and developed by the Economic Commission for Africa. This year, the eighth such indaba was held in Cape Town and was attended by more than 400 delegates from 45 countries in Africa, North and South America, and Asia...In spite of this it seems not much has changed. Africa is still burdened and not blessed by its natural resources...In some cases, government officials see minerals and the resources as an opportunity to line their own pockets, instead of focusing on how these resources can deployed for the benefit of the people and used for socioeconomic development...“Not much has changed.” These were the words of Thumeka Magwangqana, from Sikhala Sonke, a Marikana-based women’s organisation. According to Magwangqana, Lonmin made promises after the 2012 massacre, promises that were never fulfilled. Similarly, if one asked the families of Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyarende, who were working in a container that collapsed into a sinkhole at Lily Mine in Barberton, they would also tell us: nothing has changed. They were promised R200 000 by Vantage Gold Mine but they are still waiting for it. In fact, things are worse for the workers of Lily Mine and their families. The mine faces closure and they have no future...

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