SAIIA at the 2015 Mining Indaba

Photo © Riona Judge McCormack/ SAIIA
The third Mining Indaba Roundtable was hosted by SAIIA this year on the sidelines of the Mining Indaba.

Both the industry-led African Mining Indaba and its Civil Society-led counterpart, the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI), take place in Cape Town every February.

In 2015, SAIIA has continued with its efforts to help build a bridge across the Indaba divide, with two separate stakeholder engagements during the Indaba week involving government, corporate and community participants.

On 9 February 2015, SAIIA convened its third Mining Indaba Roundtable which focused on environmental governance of the extractive industries in South Africa. The theme for this year was: ‘From acid mine drainage to fracking’. We attracted our widest and most diverse audience yet.

Four expert speakers addressed the need for greater legislative coherence, political will and technical capacity to ensure that mining did indeed produce genuine social benefits. Substantive problems include the difficulty of tasking the Department of Mineral Resources with both administering mining licences as well as the responsibility for environmental oversight. Other issues such as deficient technical and administrative capacities as well as lingering co-ordination challenges among responsible state institutions were also highlighted. Speakers revealed that a large proportion of mining projects are delayed primarily due to social and environmental opposition. There are no easy solutions in this complex field, but a fruitful discussion with informed contributions from an audience of 85 individuals pointed to some of the potential paths forward.

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Participants at SAIIA’s third Mining Indaba Roundtable, 9 February 2015.

Our second Indaba event – the SAIIA Changemakers Forum – took place on 13 February with high-profile participants from across the Indaba divide, including corporate leaders, community voices, the diplomatic community and multilateral organisations.

The objective of this Forum was threefold. First, to facilitate engagement among key stakeholders who may not otherwise be in the same room. Second, to reflect together on critical blockages to extractive sector transformation and explore prospective joint undertakings to provide needed solutions. Thirdly, the interaction generates concrete outcomes to inform regional and continental level governance initiatives for the extractive sector, such as the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Africa Mining Vision.

This was the third meeting of the Changemakers Forum. Each year has provided a clearer picture of the forum’s practical utilities, especially in forging new relationships and stimulating new ideas for lasting transformation in the African extractive sector.

These initiatives and related events will provide the basis for ongoing policy engagement by SAIIA’s Governance of Africa’s resource Programme (GARP). We will also continue to leverage insights from our convening role at the Indaba to inform multi-stakeholder processes in which GARP is involved, including in South Africa, SADC and the broader African context.

This article was written by Ola Bello, Alex Benkenstein, Romy Chevallier, Ross Harvey, Lala Nongalaza and Busisipho Siyobi.


Related Mining research

SAIIA has released a number of useful research papers which speak directly to issues on the agenda of the 2015 Mining Indaba:

  • ‘Illegal sand mining in South Africa’, SAIIA Policy Briefing (2014), by Romy Chevallier.
  • ‘Towards Agenda 2063: Reinventing Partnerships on extractive governance’, SAIIA Policy Briefing (2015), by Ola Bello.
  • ‘Maximising Positive Impacts of Mining Projects: Stakeholders and Partnerships,’ SAIIA Policy Briefing (2015), by Daniel Limpitlaw.
  • From Natural Resource Dependence to Diversified Economies: An Agenda for Future Research (PDF, 112.66 kB)’, SAIIA Policy Note (2015), by Ross Harvey.
  • ‘Revamping artisanal gold mining in Zimbabwe to catalyse poverty reduction’, SAIIA Policy Briefing (2014) by Ola Bello and Megan Bybee.
  • ‘Seabed mining: Lessons from the Namibian experience’, SAIIA Policy Briefing (2014) by Alex Benkenstein.
  • ‘Botswana’s coal: Dead in the water or economic game-changer?’, SAIIA Policy Note (2014), by Ross Harvey.
  • ‘Minefields of Marikana: Prospects for forging a new social compact’, SAIIA Occasional Paper (2014), by Ross Harvey.
  • ‘Nationalism with Chinese characteristics: How does it affect the competitiveness of South Africa’s mining industry?’, SAIIA Policy Briefing (2014), by Ross Harvey.
  • ‘Africa’s extractive governance architecture: Lessons to inform a shifting agenda’, SAIIA Policy Briefing (2014), by Ola Bello.
  • ‘Mining for development in Guinea: An examination of the Simandou iron-ore project’, SAIIA Policy Briefing (2014), by Ross Harvey
  • ‘Future oil revenues and political dynamics in West and East Africa: A slippery slope?’, SAIIA Occasional Paper (2014), by Ross Harvey
  • ‘Mining and development: Lessons learnt from South Africa and beyond’, SAIIA Policy Briefing (2014), by Ross Harvey