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«Sustainable Mining in Africa: Standards as Essential Catalysts Reuben Gisore Zvidzai Matina ARSO Central Secretariat Nairobi, Kenya June 2015 ...»

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Sector Standardization Needs Review #9-2

Sustainable Mining in Africa: Standards

as Essential Catalysts

Reuben Gisore

Zvidzai Matina

ARSO Central Secretariat

Nairobi, Kenya

June 2015



1. Significance if the Mining Sector in Africa

2. Mining in Africa: Managing the Impacts

2.1 The Environmental Impacts

2.1.1 Impacts on Water Resources

2.1.2 Impacts of Mining Projects on Air Quality

2.1.3 Climate Change Considerations

2.1.4 Impacts of Mining Projects on Soil Quality

2.1.5 Impacts of Mining Projects on Wildlife

2.2 Socio-Economic Impacts of Mining

2.2.1 Involuntary Resettlements

2.2.2 Mining and Human Rights

2.2.3 Impacts of Migration

2.2.4 Lost Access to Clean Water

2.2.5 Economic and Livelihood Impacts

2.2.6 Occupational Health and Safety and Impacts on Public Health

2.2.7 Impacts to Cultural and Aesthetic Resources

2.2.8 Mining Militarization, Violent Conflicts and Resource Competition

2.3 Regulating the Environmental and Social Impacts of Mining

2.3.1 Protected Areas

2.3.2 Environmental and Social Impact Assessments

2.3.3 Public Participation

2.3.4 Access to Information

2.3.5 Addressing the Minerals and Conflicts Link

2.3.6 Policy Implications

3. Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining in Africa

3.1 Definition

3.2 The Global Position

3.3 Profile in Africa

3.4 Challenges in Africa

3.4.1 Policy Challenges

3.4.2 Technical Capacity and Access to Appropriate Technology

3.4.3 Lack of Financing

2 3.4.4 Inadequate Access to Exploration and Mining Areas

3.4.5 Difficulties in Accessing Markets

3.4.6 Conflict Minerals

3.4.7 Women’s and Child Labour Issues

3.4.8 Self-Reinforcing Nature of Challenges

3.5 Addressing the Challenges: Some Country Initiatives

3.6 Policy Implications

4. Sustainable Mining in Africa: The Africa Mining Vision

4.1 The African Mining Vision

4.2 Actions to Promote Sustainability

5 Scope of Sustainable Mining Standards

5.1 Principles and Objectives of Standards Harmonization

5.1.1 Institutional Framework

5.1.2 Economic Guidelines

5.1.3 Social Guidelines

5.1.4 Environmental Guidelines

5.2 Scope of Standards Harmonization

6. Liaison Possibility

Annex A Mineral Resources of African Countries


3 Introduction The US Geological Survey (USGS) ranks Africa as the largest or second-largest reserve worldwide for bauxite (the main source of aluminium), cobalt (used to make alloys and batteries), and industrial diamonds (needed to cut hard materials), manganese (the anticorrosive element in steel), phosphate rock (a key ingredient in fertilizers), platinum group metals (a primary component in automotive catalytic convertors), soda ash (an element in glass production), vermiculite (a component in fireproof materials) and zirconium (used to manufacture heatresistant ceramic materials) (KPMG, 2012). All of these products except for fertilizers are found in everyday life within the automobiles we use to travel from point A to point B. In an eco-conscious world where renewable materials are becoming more important, many new automobiles have an increasing volume of plant based materials in them, phosphate rock is as important to the cars being manufactured today as the other minerals found on the continent. This is an illustration of how world citizens are directly and indirectly linked to the fortunes of the African mining sector.

But the application of its metal and mineral produce goes much further than just automobiles.

Mining and quarrying of some 60 mineral products currently represents around 20% of Africa’s economic activity, while minerals are the continent’s second-largest export category worth 10% of the continent’s total exports only exceeded by hydrocarbons. More than 80% by value of these mineral commodities originate in just five countries: platinum leader South Africa; diamond-rich Botswana; as well as gold producers Ghana, Burkina Faso and Tanzania (KPMG, 2012). The African continent contributed 6.5% of the world’s mineral exports during 2011 from mining 20% of the world’s land area. From a regional perspective, members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) produce two thirds of Africa’s mineral exports by value. The biggest player in the region is South Africa (the continent’s largest economy at present) who has almost all the commodities essential for international competition except crude oil and bauxite.

Together with its northern neighbour Zimbabwe, these two economies hold the majority of the world’s platinum group metals (PGMs) reserves. To the west of Zimbabwe is the diamond-rich Botswana who is the world’s largest producer by value of these precious stones and to its north Angola. Other key mineral producers in the region are Namibia (uranium), Zambia (copper) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (copper and cobalt). In Africa mining in done both at large scale and small scale.

In some African countries, environmental problems and social issues caused by mining have been sources of protests and conflicts between mining companies and communities in mining areas.

Mining has often been associated with deforestation, land degradation, air pollution, and disruption of the ecosystem. For example, the recent strikes and deaths in major platinum and gold fields in South Africa have highlighted the social impacts and uncertainties surrounding the country’s strategic mining sector. To curb social and environmental impacts of mining, industry players and governments should strive for a more inclusive and transparent partnership by encouraging public participation in mining communities 4 Sustainable Mining in Africa: Standards as Essential Catalysts

1. Significance if the Mining Sector in Africa Nations richly endowed with minerals should be able to develop these resources for their own benefit, creating opportunities for employment and regional economic development, ultimately facilitating broader national economic and social development. This is because mineral resources represent a form of capital, which can be thought of as anything with the ability to generate economic well-being or development, such as a highly educated workforce or abundant agricultural land. Generally speaking, the more capital a nation has, the higher its level of economic well-being or development. UNECA (2004) indicates that many of the world’s richest countries have benefited greatly from minerals extraction. Australia, Canada, Finland, Sweden, and the United States, for example, have all had extensive minerals industries and used them as a platform for broad-based industrial development. By any standards, these are now some of the world’s most successful economies: in 2001 all five were among the top 10 countries in the Human Development Index prepared by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, 2001). Moreover, in these countries minerals development seems by at least some measures to have brought benefits specifically to regions with mines. In nineteenth-century Australia, for instance, mineral exploitation brought development to the states of Victoria and Western Australia.

UNECA (2004) highlights the fact that minerals in the ground are only potential wealth. They have the potential to create well-being. For this potential to be realized, however, mineral wealth must be created. In one sense, mineral wealth is created if someone pays to acquire the right to explore for minerals on a property or for the right to develop a known but undeveloped mineral deposit.

The seller benefits from the proceeds received from the sale of the exploration or development right. In a broader sense, the creation of mineral wealth requires that a deposit be discovered, developed, and mined for a profit. Once created mineral wealth brings benefits in the form of consumption or investment. If consumed, the goods and services purchased with mineral revenues bring immediate benefits to the purchaser. For example, miners spend part of their wages on food and clothing, which makes them better off than if they did not have food or clothing. Moreover, there are spillover (or multiplier) benefits when food or clothing merchants, in turn, spend a portion of their new income on goods and services that make them feel better off than before, and so on. If mineral revenues are invested, the goods and services purchased with these revenues enhance society’s ability to create well-being in the future. For example, mineral revenues might be invested in financial instruments, such as stocks or bonds, which will earn income in the future; other businesses which will generate future income; physical infrastructure, such as roads and electric power systems, which will enhance the ability to undertake future economic activities; or education or health care which will create healthier and better educated workers and citizens for the future.

Africa is ranked as the largest or second-largest reserve worldwide for antimony (used mainly for flame retardants, also for ammunition, automotive batteries and decolorizing agent in glass manufacture; bauxite (the main source of aluminium); chromite (used in stainless and specialized steels); cobalt (used to make batteries, catalysts, cemented carbides for cutting tools and drill bits, drying agents for paints, magnets, and super alloys for jet engine components);

industrial diamonds (needed to cut hard materials); manganese (the anticorrosive element in steel), phosphate rock (a key ingredient in fertilisers); platinum group metals (PGM) (iridium, osmium, palladium, platinum, rhodium & ruthenium) (a primary component in automotive catalytic convertors); soda ash (an element in glass production); vanadium (used as an alloying agent for iron and steel); vermiculite (a component in fireproof materials) and zirconium (used to manufacture heat-resistant ceramic materials); and others include gold, ilmenite (titanium), mercury, rutile, (Taylor et al., 2009); (KPMG, 2012); (Yager et al., 2014).

KPMG (2012) reports that the mining and quarrying of some 60 mineral products currently represents around 20% of Africa’s economic activity, while minerals are the continent’s secondlargest export category — worth 10% of the continent’s total exports — only exceeded by hydrocarbons. More than 80% by value of these mineral commodities originate in just five countries: platinum leader South Africa; diamond-rich Botswana; as well as gold producers

–  –  –

The African countries’ commercially viable mineral resources are listed in Annex A (KPMG, 2012).

2. Mining in Africa: Managing the Impacts Although negative impacts from mining activities are inevitable, it should be noted that most of them can be avoided during the mining cycle (during the pre-development, development and postdevelopment stages) if prevention and mitigation measures are established. Lower adverse impacts and risks often translate into lower costs of doing business—and offer opportunities for building relationships with local communities, leading to reduced conflict between the mining industry and those who work or live near mines.

It is also clear that there is a direct link among environmental impacts, human rights violations and obstacles to sustainable development in mining. But lessons from Africa, and elsewhere, indicate that strong transparent and participatory governance processes, at all levels, can assist mineral-rich countries attain sustainable economic growth and good environmental practices through applying and enforcing human rights, labour and environmental norms and standards.

2.1 The Environmental Impacts

Mining activities accelerate the rate and degree of changes in the natural environment. The activities modify landscapes and can have long-term impacts on communities and natural resources due to their physical degrading nature, as well as their use of chemicals and other harmful substances. The following environmental impacts are associated with mining.

2.1.1 Impacts on Water Resources ELAW (2010) notes that perhaps the most significant impact of a mining project is its effects on water quality and availability of water resources within the project area. Key impacts are outlined

as follows: Acid Mine Drainage and Contaminant Leaching ELAW (2010) and UNECA & AUC (2011) explain that acid mine drainage is considered one of mining’s most serious threats to water resources. Acid mine drainage is a concern at many metal mines, because metals such as gold, copper, silver and molybdenum, are often found in rock with sulfide minerals. When the sulfides in the rock are excavated and exposed to water and air during mining, they form sulfuric acid. This acidic water dissolves other harmful metals in the surrounding rock. If uncontrolled, the acid mine drainage may runoff into streams or rivers or leach into groundwater. Acid mine drainage may be released from any part of the mine where sulfides are exposed to air and water, including waste rock piles, tailings, open pits, underground tunnels, and leach pads.

A mine with acid mine drainage has the potential for long-term devastating impacts on rivers, streams and aquatic life. Many streams impacted by acid mine drainage have a pH value of 4 or lower — similar to battery acid — which destroys plant, animal, and fish life downstream.

Acid mine drainage also dissolves toxic metals, such as copper, aluminum, cadmium, arsenic, lead and mercury, from the surrounding rock. These metals, particularly the iron, coats the stream bottom with an orange-red coloured slime called yellowboy. Even in very small amounts, metals can be toxic to humans and wildlife. Carried in water, the metals can travel far, contaminating streams and groundwater for great distances. The impacts to aquatic life may range from immediate fish kills to sublethal, impacts affecting growth, behaviour or the ability to reproduce.

Metals are particularly problematic because they do not break down in the environment. They settle to the bottom and persist in the stream for long periods of time, providing a long-term source of contamination to the aquatic insects that live there, and the fish that feed on them.

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