Forging mining ties with Africa

DMP takes part in a busy schedule of meetings and events associated with the Africa Down Under Conference.
Date: Wednesday, 03 September 2014

This week marks the first face-to-face meeting of the Joint Working Group set up under an MoU between Western Australia and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). 

The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) is strengthening its bonds with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) through a series of meetings and events surrounding this week’s three-day Africa Down Under 2014 Conference in Perth.

The highlight for the department will be the first face-to-face meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) established after Premier Colin Barnett signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Western Australia and COMESA in January this year during his visit to Lusaka, Zambia.

The meeting will follow an official State breakfast on Thursday attended by the Premier, Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion, COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya, COMESA officials and Ministers and representatives of DMP, and the Departments of State Development and Agriculture and Food.

The high-profile meeting of the JWG will cement ties created at the inaugural meeting held by teleconference in May that set up parameters for the MoU’s governance arrangements and a 12-month work program.

“The primary aim of the MoU is to tap Western Australia’s expertise to help African nations to develop their mining laws, tenement systems and environmental and safety standards to levels similar to those in Australia,” Mr Marmion said.

“We have a world class system of legislation and regulation and want to pass on our experience so African countries can build resources industries that are profitable, sustainable, safe, and pass on benefits to theirs citizens.”

“The MoU will also bring benefits to Australian companies with investments in Africa.”

Involvement with COMESA has been identified by the State Government as a highly effective way to have Western Australia recognised throughout the trade bloc’s 19 member states, which include Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Egypt and Libya.

COMESA’s states have a combined population of 389 million, annual imports of about US$32 billion and exports of US$82 billion.

DMP had a busy schedule of meetings and events involving COMESA and Africa Down Under delegates in the week before the conference.

The itinerary included trips around the Perth area including the department’s Core Library at Carlisle, and to Bunbury, Bridgetown, Greenbushes, Kwinana, and the North-West.

DMP also delivered briefings to delegates on tenement management, royalty and taxation policies, environmental approvals, geoscience information, and key policy issues for developing a successful resources sector.

In association with the Department of State Development, DMP hosted a meet-and-greet session for COMESA delegates on Monday, 1 September.

As part of the Africa Down Under conference, DMP Executive Director Environment Dr Phil Gorey took part in a panel discussion yesterday on challenges and innovation in environmental stewardship.

Dr Gorey will visit South Africa early next month to attend the Mine Closure 2014 Conference and will run an environmental best practice workshop in Kampala, Uganda as part of his itinerary.

The Africa Down Under conference attracted more than 2000 delegates and 160 exhibitors last year, and organisers expect those figures to be higher this year.