Friday, 6 January 2012
A pillar of the Australian Government's new Mining for Development Initiative in Africa is a series of study tours coordinated by the AAPF for African officials to visit Australia – the fourth tour was held recently.
In line with the Initiative's aim to help developing countries use their natural resources to grow their economies and provide social benefits to their people, the study tours expose participants to Australia’s regulatory frameworks in the resources sector.
The Mining and Communities Study Tour, held 3-16 December 2011, hosted senior public servants, leaders of NGOs and executives from development trusts involved in mining. Participants came from Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. The program focused on managing the social aspects of mining projects, social investment and enhancing benefits for local communities, governance models and the frameworks for sustainable resource development in Australia.
Dr Ana Maria Esteves, a renowned consultant in social responsibility in the mining, oil and gas sector, led the study tour. She was supported by three AAPF facilitators.
Participants visited mining centres in Queensland and the Northern Territory and looked at the consultation processes involving local government, communities and mining companies. Of particular interest to the participants was the way in which these groups worked towards mutually beneficial outcomes on power, water, affordable housing and other community concerns. Eva Wanja James, a Senior Assistant Welfare Officer working in Local Government in Kenya, said she was most impressed with the level of contact between the communities and the mining companies. "Mining is just starting in Kenya and this is something we would like to see at home," she said.