Despite the fact that mining-led growth is one of the few opportunities low-income African nations have of catching up with other countries, mining in Africa is not seen as creating local benefits. There is little co-operation among stakeholders in the minerals sector and long-term planning is poor. To make a meaningful contribution, the mining sector must take into account the development imperatives in host communities. Infrastructural costs and benefits can be shared with other sectors, and strengthening non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can benefit companies by providing them with negotiation partners. It is also essential that every project includes a ‘good practice’ impact assessment. The experiences of a company in Central Africa illustrate how some blockages may be overcome. All stakeholders are important when planning a new mine, but this project fostered particularly good relationships with the local government, NGOs and village leadership, whose input increased the potential for more sustainable outcomes.