Today’s governments are challenged with creating new approaches to governance that enable them to better exploit the developmental potential provided by mineral resources. Establishing regulatory frameworks and state capacity to ensure that activities and mining companies are compatible with efforts to promote inclusive and sustainable development are central to this challenge.

Britain's role in extracting continent's resources

Late last month, the Central American state of El Salvador made history as the first country in the world to ban metal mining. The decision by lawmakers to ban mining in the country came after a protracted struggle between activists and mining companies to protect the country’s dwindling water sources from pollution by mining projects.

The pattern discerned through much of this chapter, of uneven responses, is also true of responses to HIV and AIDS, which has come to be seen as a core test of corporate social responsibility in the region. While this may seem to be a labour relations issue, since companies are usually responding to employees who are affected by the virus, it is usually seen as a CSR issue because some companies do offer support programmes for people beyond the workplace. Responses range from total indifference to significant concern expressed in elaborate policies and programmes.

Despite the qualifications expressed in the previous paragraph, the relationship between China and the countries researched here has repeatedly been presented as a development partnership, not a commercial arrangement.

Mining has been practiced in West Africa since the earliest times and small-scale mining of gold and iron has been the basis of wealth and/or power of many empires and kingdoms in the region throughout history.

Rio+20 will debate sustainable economic path

Nicole Mawazo lives in Ngoyo and has built up a successful business by combining farming with operating a small restaurant. Forced to look after herself and her brothers after Rwandan or Ugandan soldiers killed her parents, Nicole began producing ‘Kindingi’, a home-made, highly alcoholic, corn-banana brew, which she sold to artisanal miners. Eventually, she saved up enough to start farming and running a restaurant. “This has provided well for us,” she explained proudly, adding that her husband contributes almost nothing to the family.

Seven years ago, Congolese soldiers attacked Kilwa – looting, murdering and raping their way through the remote town in central Katanga. At the end of the raid, over 70 people had been killed and many more raped and injured by the troops. It was a barbaric attack – one of many in the eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the last decade. But what made the Kilwa incident different was the allegation that Anvil Mining – an Australian-Canadian company operating a large silver and copper mine nearby – had provided the soldiers with logistical support.


Small and isolated deposits of minerals are scattered all over SADC countries. These often lend themselves to economic exploitation through small-scale mining. With modest demand on capital expenditure and a short lead-time, they also provide employment opportunities for the local population. In certain countries, artisanal miners are exploited by companies who buy their produce cheaply. Artisanal mining in its current form in most SADC countries is poorly regulated and often not taxed.

our hCard

Building vibrant and tolerant democracies
1 Hood Avenue/148 Jan Smuts; Rosebank, GP 2196; South Africa
E 28° 2.1600000000001" S -26° 8.7420000000001"
Telephone: +27 (0)11 587 5000
FAX: +27 (0)11 587 5099

Twitter Feed

Our newsletters

Sign up for our newsletter to receive stories, research, and news, delivered periodically to your inbox.