By James Hyland
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA — February 6, 2024 — The Mining Indaba Conference in Cape Town has always been a beacon for the mining industry, drawing together leaders, innovators, and stakeholders from across the globe to discuss, debate, and develop the future of mining on the African continent. Day 2 of the event was no exception, offering a rich tapestry of discussions that not only highlighted the challenges facing the sector but also illuminated the path towards a more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous mining industry in Africa.
The day commenced with an opening address by Dr. Remi Piet, Co-Founder & Senior Partner at Embellie Advisory, who set the tone for the day’s proceedings. Dr. Piet’s words were a clarion call to action, urging attendees to embrace collaboration and innovation to overcome the myriad challenges facing the mining sector in Africa.
A key highlight of the day was the Intergovernmental Summit focused on “Enhancing local value – developing Africa’s infrastructure to advance the mineral chain.” The panel, moderated by Dinah McLeod of the Cobalt Institute and featuring luminaries such as Andrew Shaw from Transnet, Marcus Williams in the field of Energy and Extractive Industries, and Reta Jo Lewis, President and Chair of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, delved into the critical issues of infrastructure limitations, investment needs, and the role of African institutions in driving development. The discussion underscored the urgent need for strategic investments in transport and energy to unlock the full potential of Southern African mineral producers and highlighted initiatives like the Lobito Corridor as catalysts for economic growth.
Another session that captured the attendees’ attention was on turning investment inhibitors into opportunities, emphasizing the mining sector’s role in driving global change through disruptive technologies and sustainability-linked strategies. Moderated by Ben Burnad of Thor Projects, the panel featured experts like Christelle van Vuuren of the International Finance Corporation and Johannes Banz from Mercedes-Benz, who discussed the transformative power of stewardship certification and climate-linked finance in improving community development and responsible supply chain collaboration.
The conference also shone a spotlight on specific legal and fiscal challenges, such as the subcontracting law in the DR Congo, presented by Hon. Miguel Kashal Katemb, and the presentation of the African Legal Support Facility’s (ALSF) “Mineral Taxation Toolkit,” a vital resource for African governments in drafting mining legislation. An expert panel explored the evolution of mining industry taxation, addressing critical issues like tax avoidance, incentive regimes, and the need for reform to maximize benefits for African nations.
Voices of disruption were heard loud and clear, with presentations from leading mining companies like Eurasian Resources Group, Perseus, and B2Gold. These sessions underscored the industry’s capacity for positive change and innovation, highlighting efforts to bring about disruption that benefits both the continent and the industry at large.
Technology and supply chain transparency were also discussed, with emphasis on the need for collaboration between downstream and upstream sectors to ensure responsible sourcing and the importance of transparency for Africa’s financial and environmental sustainability.
The day concluded with sessions on the just energy transition, the potential of green minerals, and the importance of developing a fruitful and inclusive labor sector, alongside discussions on Pan-African investment and the role of local financing in developing mining projects.
The day concluded with closing remarks from Dr. Remi Piet, reflecting on the discussions and the path forward for the African mining sector. The emphasis was on collaboration, innovation, and sustainability as key drivers for the industry’s future.
Day 2 of the Mining Indaba Conference in Cape Town was a testament to the dynamic and evolving nature of the African mining sector. It highlighted the critical challenges and opportunities ahead, urging stakeholders to work together towards a sustainable and prosperous future for mining in Africa.