Labour activists march through Cape Town, South Africa, to deliver the declaration of the Alternative Mining Indaba.
IndustriALL Global Union joined 475 participants from 31 countries in Cape Town, South Africa from 6-8 February 2017 to represent workers at the Alternative Mining Indaba.
The meeting runs parallel to the African Mining Indaba - the world’s largest mining investment conference, which is dedicated to the capitalization and development of mining in Africa. The Alternative Mining Indaba, which is in its eighth year, represents a diverse civil society grouping, from issue-based NGOs in the mining sector to labour, mining impacted communities and grassroots organizations, and faith-based organizations.
Speaking about the meeting, IndustriALL’s Director of Mining, Glen Mpufane, said: “The peculiarities of the mining sector demand the building of strategic alliances with mining affected communities and stakeholders. The Alternative Mining Indaba has become an important platform to create a common agenda on common issues, recognizing the differences that might exist between the different communities of interest.”
These differences were glaringly exposed in a panel discussion on extraction of natural resources and how to promote broad-based sustainable growth and socio-economic development in Africa. The panel, which included a mining impacted community member from Zambia, Lawrence Mwanangombe; Environmental Justice Network representative, Rev Malcolm Damon; Amnesty International representative, Thabileng Mothabi, and the CEO and President of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) Tom Butler.
The panel raised critical issues in the mining sector ranging from the need for redistribution of resources, taxing mining companies, stewardship in the sustainable exploitation of natural resources, unfulfilled promises by mining companies, corporate injustices practiced by mining companies, and land grabs among others.
Both the African Mining Indaba and the Alternative Mining Indaba centre on the African Mining Vision, a development model for natural resource governance in Africa. Adopted by African countries in 2009, it has the long-term goal of attaining transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad based sustainable growth and socio-economic development. "It is therefore not about mining, but development," said Mpufane.
The voice of labour at the Alternative Mining Indaba was raised and carried by IndustriALL and the Southern Africa Coordination Council (SATUCC), which represents all the major trade union federations in the Southern African Development Community.
The meeting ended with a march through the streets of Cape Town to the venue of the African Mining Indaba to deliver the declaration of the 8th Alternative Mining Indaba. The declaration was accepted by Tom Butler of the ICMM.