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Mining Indaba 2018 – five key takeaways

The Investing in African Mining Indaba 2018 conference has been hailed a phenomenal success. This has set the stage for the event to continue growing and improving in future years.

Trust and transparency between industry, community and government is key

The trust deficit was a key theme of the Ministerial Symposium, a private forum that takes place the day before Mining Indaba starts every year and aims to foster public-private sector communication.

The forum involved at Mining Indaba comprised 17 African ministers and leaders from top mining companies who came together to discuss issues affecting the industry. Deshnee Naidoo (CEO, Vedanta Zinc) called for mining companies to engage directly with their shareholders rather than through a third party in order to increase trust on both sides.

During a Mining Indaba panel, Sheila Khama from the World Bank made a powerful statement that “transparency is not just an ethical issue, but a value proposition with capital value”.

This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 3 2018

Junior miners growing in popularity among investors

Black Rock investor Evy Hambro referred to junior miners as the “lifeblood of the industry” in his panel, suggesting that innovation in the exploration industry would be able to offset rising production costs, reduce risk and increase the probability of success.

The junior mining showcase at Mining Indaba, which featured 50 junior exhibitors in a dedicated deal-making space, drew attention from investors this year.

The annual Investment Battlefield – a dragon’s den style competition where junior miners pitch to a panel of investor judges for prizes – came to an exciting conclusion with Thor Explorations picking up the first prize for its Nigerian gold project.

Sustainable development has become an important industry concern

Sustainable development is no longer a buzzword, this year it was arguably one of the biggest themes at Mining Indaba, with key industry leaders such as Anil Agarwal (Chairman, Vedanta Resources) discussing the pressing need for companies to have a ‘social license to operate’ in their host countries in order to deliver shareholder value and IGF (Intergovernmental Forum) running a series of sustainability roundtables focusing on local content policy.

Digitisation is changing the industry – for the better

This year the new Mining 2050 Innovation track inspired a stream of panel discussions around technological innovation in the mining sector, looking at how these advances can improve health and safety in the industry, better process waste products and lessen environmental impacts.

Michelle Ash from Barrick Gold spoke about how everyday technology we use such as video calling is being transferred for use in the workplace to increase efficiency. She said of new technological trends: “we can be fearful about them or we can leverage and utilise them.”

 Creating an inclusive and diverse mining sector

Alongside sustainability, gender inclusivity was discussed during special sessions run by the World Bank, African Development Bank and Women in Mining.

Current statistics show that women make up roughly 9% of the African mining industry, leaving a lot of potential to make the industry more inclusive.

The Women in Mining photography exhibition was also featured throughout the venue, drawing attention from delegates and creating awareness of the topic.

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