Australia Prime Minister commits initial $5 towards African Minerals Development Centre


ECA Press Release

Perth, Australia 30 August 2012 (ECA) – Australian Foreign Minister, Mr. Bob Carr has announced an initial commitment of $5 million over the next two years in support of the establishment of the African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC). The support comes as part of the assistance Australia is providing to Africa, under its Mining for Development Initiative. Senator Carr made this announcement at the opening of the Africa Down Under Conference in Perth, Australia, today.

“The Centre will implement the African Union’s African Mining Vision, which aims to drive sustainable mining further still, increase transparency around major projects; and support infrastructure and develop new capacity,” he said.

The African Mining Vision (AMV) was adopted by Heads of State at the February 2009 AU summit following the October 2008 meeting of African Ministers responsible for Mineral Resources Development. The Vision is a holistic approach that advocates “thinking outside the constraints of the mining box”. It is Africa’s own response to tackling the paradox of great mineral wealth existing side by side with pervasive

“As a world leader in mining with significant development expertise, Australia is well placed to work with the Centre, with our ability to draw on more than 100 years of experience in sustainably harnessing natural resources to promote our own economic growth and development,” Senator Carr said.

The announcement was received as a welcome development by the tripartite partnership of the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank, whose efforts to lay the foundation for the establishment of the Centre are well underway.

Mr. Wilfred Lombe who heads the Infrastructure and Natural Resources Section at the ECA underscores that AU member States want a pathway that goes beyond improving mining regimes, optimizing tax revenues and ensuring the income is well spent - although that is clearly important.  He underscores that the Vision and the Action Plan address the question of integrating mining much better into development policies at local, national and regional levels.

The Centre, to be based in Addis Ababa, will help African countries achieve economic growth and deliver social benefits through effective governance of the mining sector.

Further, it will promote and coordinate the implementation of the African Mining Vision, through providing policy advisory services, research, training, workshops and broad technical assistance to African governments in developing their mineral resources.
Areas of specific focus include geological and mining information systems; governance and participation; artisanal and small-scale mining; creating linkages between African countries to share experiences; creating investment and diversification opportunities;
building human and institutional capacity; and communications and advocacy.

“Ultimately these efforts are about opening out mining’s enclave status so that Africa can move from its historic role as an exporter of cheap raw materials to a manufacturer and a supplier of knowledge-based services,” says Lombe.

Africa Down Under is an annual gathering of Africa’s mining sector. African ministers, representatives from the mining industry as well as researchers and civil society organizations attended this year’s conference.


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© 2012 Economic Commission for Africa