Online Course Mineral Resource Policy and Contract Negotiations
Africa’s vast mineral wealth has, for long, been the object of intense international and domestic interest. For various reasons, much of that interest has not been beneficial for Africa’s long-term development and the promotion of the welfare of the generality of its peoples. Internationally, documented and speculative knowledge about Africa’s mineral wealth contributed to the onset of imperial ambitions to dominate its affairs; in most cases, those ambitions culminated in the imposition of foreign colonial rule amidst a scramble among the leading European powers of the 19th century to control the known strategic resources of the continent. The exploitation of Africa’s mineral wealth by international interests has remained a constant element in the affairs of the region, impacting not only the processes of economic development but also the dynamics of politics, governance, environmental sustainability, social cohesion, and culture. Historically, the main international mining interest’s active in Africa came from Europe and North America. Today, in the context of on-going re-alignments in the world economy, a new scramble for Africa’s mineral wealth involving old and new forces is unfolding at a time when, at different levels, the capacity of most of the states in the region is not at its optimal.
Domestically, the history of some of the earliest African political formations was closely linked to the presence and control of strategic minerals. Indeed, minerals have been closely intertwined with the process of the composition, consolidation, decomposition and re-composition of political communities in Africa. In more recent times, mineral production has emerged to constitute a key driver of economic activity and political life in many countries. It constitutes a significant – in some cases dominant – element in the international trade profiles of most countries, accounting for the bulk of formal exports and serving as the main source of foreign exchange earnings. However, formally declared exportation competes with informal and illicit transactions of various kinds to paint an unwholesome picture of a trade in Africa’s mineral riches that is mostly characterized by multiple leakages, including significant revenues lost to the treasury, and a litany of missed opportunities for transformative development. As can be expected, the governance of the mining sector and the management of the direct and indirect benefits deriving from mineral production and exports have emerged as terrains of domestic political and policy contestation in which various national and international actors are enmeshed. Many of the contestations have festered into full-blown violent conflicts.
Considering the close interconnection between minerals, power and development, it is not surprising that a complex political economy has mushroomed around it. The ownership, control, and deployment of Africa’s mineral wealth are at the core of a broader struggle on the continent for sustained and sustainable development. It is a struggle that implicates an array of players: states and mining companies; mining companies in competition and collaboration with one another; the home and host countries of mining conglomerates; governments and the citizens over whom they preside; the public and private sectors; foreign and domestic investors; formal corporate entities, governments, and informal/artisanal miners; investors and the communities in which they operate; local and international civil society organisations and advocacy groups; inter-governmental and multilateral institutions; and mining investors and the labour which they employ. The exploitation of the continent’s mineral wealth has also raised concerns with regard to the exercise of sovereignty by African states; governmental capacity and internal coherence; public policy processes; reciprocal accountability among and by the key players in the mining sector; the quest by African countries for national self-reliance; the absorption and use by governments of incomes from mineral exports; the rights of peoples and communities to development; the protection of the natural environment; the duties and responsibilities of mining companies; the transfer of mining technology to African countries; the management and regulation of the mining sector; and, above all, the implications of mining activities for overall national and regional development.
Amidst the plethora of issues that have been thrown up by contemporary mining activities in Africa, perhaps the most enduring and pertinent centres on how African countries can derive the maximum
possible developmental benefit from their resources. It is an issue around which considerable scholarly analyses has been undertaken and a broad range of policy proposals made, including the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative to which several African governments have subscribed. However, many of the policy initiatives that have been promoted do not sufficiently address the central question of how a systematic and an incremental creation of domestic developmental linkages, direct and indirect, can be achieved in the producing countries in order to ensure that greater value is generated and retained locally from the mining sector both on its own terms and in relation to other economic sectors and activities. This is as much a matter of policy as it is of politics; it also speaks to the negotiating frames and methods employed by African governments in their quest to attract and retain foreign mining investors that have or are able to access the technology required for extracting minerals.
- The aim of the course is to equip middle and top managers; policy makers in government with knowledge and ideas that will have a direct impact on the development of Mineral and Natural resources policies that govern the medium and large scale minerals industry investment, especially base metals. At the end of the course, the participants must be able to:
- Understand and differentiate between large scale and medium mining and exploration industries and how they raise their finances.
- Understand benefits of local beneficiation and the attendant industrialisation and job creation.
- Understand how to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in the natural resources sector by designing good policies that are attractive to investors.
- Improve capacity building in the policy development arena especially for policy makers.
- Gain experiences based on case studies from various African studies; so as to enhance knowledge on the best practices Natural Resource Management.
- Understand the social responsibility of mining companies on the continent.
- Understand the best relationship between governments and mining companies.