Mining Indaba 2024 - The ALSF Urges African Governments to Update Mining Legislation

The Mining Indaba, held in Cape Town, South Africa between 5th to 8th February 2024,
23 February 2024
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The Mining Indaba, held in Cape Town, South Africa between 5th to 8th February 2024, is Africa ’ s largest mining conference, bringing together public and private sector stakeholders to discuss how to improve the sector; whose challenges and opportunities include fluctuations in commodity prices, infrastructure gaps, environmental and social issues, attracting investment, rapid technological advancement, regulatory weaknesses, and the rise in demand for critical minerals.

The theme for this year ’ s edition was Embracing the Power of Positive Disruption: A Bold New Future for African Mining. In his opening address, the South African President, H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa, acknowledged the challenges that remain in terms of energy supply and attracting investment, but also underscored the theme when he declared that “ Africa has the potential to become a pivotal point for the energy transition".

The African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) together with its partners – the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Mining Development Centre (AMDC) co-hosted three major events at the Mining Indaba to highlight the support and resources provided by intergovernmental institutions in assisting African countries to overcome persisting challenges and to take advantage of the opportunities presented by mining for the energy transition.

Prior to the commencement of the Indaba, the CEO of the ALSF, Mr. Olivier Pognon, joined several ministers, CEOs, and high-level officials on 5 February 2024, in various roundtable discussions focused on pushing Africa into a new investment era with solutions to the continent ’ s greatest challenges, specifically including discussions on leveraging the continent ’ s critical minerals endowment effectively, the changes required in the mineral rights and policy frameworks, and promoting investment in exploration.

The candid exchanges provided insights into the future of the mining industry and set the tone for the Mining Indaba. The Minister of Energy & Mineral Resources, Republic South Africa, Hon. Gwede Mantashe, and the Commissioner for Trade, Industry, & Mining, of the African Union, H.E. Albert Muchanga, also delivered keynote addresses.

On 6 February 2024, during the main stage panel discussion on ‘ Empowering African mining in an era of disruption: The role of development finance and support organisations, the CEO of the ALSF, Mr. Olivier Pognon, highlighted the legal and technical advisory and capacity building support provided by the ALSF to ensure that African governments update their legal and regulatory frameworks and enhance their legal capacities to achieve more equitable benefits from their mineral resources.

The other panelists included Mr. Ellason Kaseko, the Director of Mines of the Ministry of Mining, Malawi; Dr. Marit Y. Kitaw, Interim Director, AMDC; Dr. Vanessa Ushie, Acting Director, African Natural Resources Management and Investment Centre of the AfDB; and Dr. Olumide Abimbola, Executive Director, Africa Policy Research Institute. The panel was moderated by Dr. Kwasi Ampofo, Head of Metals and Mining, BloombergNEF.

On the same day, the ALSF hosted a side event to discuss the topic- Evolution of Mining Industry Taxation towards a Bold New Future for African Mining ’ . The event was anchored by the ALSF ’ s African Mining Legislation Atlas (AMLA), a free online resource for finding and comparing mining legislation across Africa that was developed by the ALSF, the World Bank, and the African Union Commission. The panelists were Mr. Isaac Danso Agyiri, Policy, Research and Advocacy Advocate, Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA); Mr. Richard Kapasa, Commissioner, Zambia Revenue Authority; Mr. Thomas Scurfield, Senior Economic Analyst, Natural Resource Governance Institute; Dr. Vanessa Ushie, Acting Director, African Natural Resources Management and Investment Centre, AfDB; and Dr. Zach Pouga, Partner, Ernst & Young, New York.

During the session, it was noted that the mining sector in Africa is often vulnerable to tax avoidance and illicit financial flows, especially where legislation is weak. This leads to governments losing billions of dollars each year in potential income that could be used for economic development and growth. The panelists also noted that the lack of reliable and transparent data on mining activities makes it difficult for governments to design and implement effective tax policies.

With regards to emerging trends, panelists noted that Africa is gaining increasing global importance as the continent is home to a significant deposit of the world ’ s green minerals, which are essential for the transition to a low-carbon economy and for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Governments were therefore advised to take advantage of the new impetus by developing mining taxation policies that attract and incentivize investments in green minerals extraction and beneficiation, as well as promote the development of renewable energy sources and value chains, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and address the potential job losses and economic disruption associated with the transition. The panel was moderated by Ms. Oghor Okhai-Akhigbe, Head of Capacity Building Unit, ALSF.

At the event, the ALSF also announced the launch of a Mineral Taxation Toolkit to be held later in the year. This toolkit will be an add-on to the AMLA platform and will provide resources for governments, civil society, and other stakeholders in designing appropriate and fair taxation for mineral resources development across the continent.

On 7 February 2024, the CEO of the ALSF, Mr. Olivier Pognon joined several high-level personalities for the presentation of the African Green Minerals Strategy (AGMS), which was developed through a collaboration between the AfDB, AMDC, and ALSF. After the presentation, a panel discussion followed on the potential role of the AGMS as a game changer for Africa ’ s minerals-based industrialization.

The panelists included Hon. Ruth Nankibirwa Ssetemu, Minister of Energy & Mineral Development, Uganda; Hon. Paul C. Kabuswe, Minister of Mines and Minerals Development, Zambia; Mr. Sadrack Dobe, Director General of Geology, Ministry of Mines and Geology, Chad; Mr. Kosi Toulassi, Head of Industrialization, AUDA-NEPAD; Dr. Vanessa Ushie, Acting Director, AfDB; Dr. Amany Asfour, President of Africa Business Council (ABC); Ms. Mukupa Nsenduluka, TJNA; Ms. Alaka Lugonzo, Oxfam.

The panelists were unanimous in embracing the strategy as a road map for green minerals development on the continent, and the ALSF CEO emphasized the importance of leveraging the continent ’ s green mineral resource endowment as bargaining power to maximize value for the continent through appropriate regulatory frameworks and contracts.

Mr. Olivier Pognon and staff of the ALSF also held meetings with several government ministers and delegations, including the governments of Malawi, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Angola, Senegal, Central African Republic, Somalia, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Tanzania and Zanzibar. The meetings discussed the ongoing projects spearheaded by the ALSF in the respective countries and other significant developments in the mining sector.

Speaking to the media during the Mining Indaba, Mr. Pognon stated that “ We have to empower the decision makers and empower them in a way that achieves the goals that Africa defines for itself. That means empowering the whole ecosystem around key mining projects and local communities,” He further noted that “ As Africans we should not be afraid to use the bargaining power that we have in our conversations with foreign companies. Transactions have to be fair and equitable; there is always room to maneuver during these conversations to get a better deal for Africa ”.

The ALSF participation in the Mining Indaba put the issue of an appropriate policy and regulatory framework, fair taxation, and equitable contract negotiations at the forefront of discussions towards achieving a bold new future for African mining. Accordingly, the ALSF will continue to work with governments across Africa to help them negotiate better deals with private partners.

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