What are your top 10 priorities for building a new mine in Africa? A few years ago the answers were likely to include the words ‘profitable’, ‘efficient’ and ‘logistical challenges must be easily overcome’. Today however, the answer is far more complex and the list substantially longer.
The reality is this – the requirements to develop new mining projects in Africa are evolving rapidly and the criteria to secure success becoming increasingly challenging – if you don’t know what you are doing, that is. If you want to build a mine, you need to consider first and foremost the people/communities that live on, around and near your potential mining site of choice.
Gone are the days where you identified your sweet spot and simply moved in, regardless of who lived there and their level of dependence on the land to provide. Mines must learn to live in harmony, with their environment yes (that is a given), but also the people who share the same land.In a word, I’m talking about sustainability. Sustainable mines are happy mines and happy mines pay respect to the environment in which they operate.
This issue of Mining Review Africa discusses this topic in depth. And let me be the first to say my eyes have been opened to some of the realities associated with this topic. A community holds the power to stop mining in its tracks or even prevent a mine from moving off the starting blocks.