Maputo — The Australian government is sponsoring a mining forum this week in the western Mozambican province of Tete which will bring together 80 people from 29 African countries who have previously visited Australia to look at that country’s mining sector.
The participants are alumni from the Australian government’s “Mining for Development” scheme.
Over the last two years more than 300 officials from various African countries have toured Australia under the scheme, including 67 officials from Mozambique. The visitors looked at environmental management, social and community aspects of resource development, equitable benefit sharing and royalty regimes, and use of mining revenue for economic diversification.
Mozambique’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Esperanca Bias and the Australian High Commissioner to Mozambique, Ann Harrap, are scheduled to open the forum.
According to Harrap, “the forum provides an opportunity for the alumni to follow up on what they have learnt on study tours, exchange ideas with fellow participants and provide valuable feedback on Australia’s Mining for Development initiative in Africa”.
She added, “as part of the forum, participants will have the opportunity to visit mine sites in Tete and to focus on technical issues such as skills development, local procurement and regional planning. Networking and exploring ways to strengthen alumni interaction and learning are also important aspects of the forum”.
Mining accounts for about eight per cent of the Australian economy and half of the country’s exports. The sector employs roughly 320,000 Australians.
Commenting on Mozambique’s rich natural resources, Harrap stated that this is “a unique opportunity for transformation and sustained growth - well managed exploitation of natural resources could be one of the most important sources of financing for economic and social development available to resource-rich countries in Africa”.
“Through our Mining for Development program, the Australian Government aims to support the efforts of partner governments in Africa to build the knowledge, skills and systems to manage their resource wealth in ways that promote equitable and sustainable economic development”, she said.