Declaration of the 6th alternative mining Indaba “MAKING NATURAL RESOURCES WORK FOR THE PEOPLE”

We, the representatives of over 300 members of Civil Society Organisations; Faith Based Organisations, Pan-African Networks and Organisations, Labour Movements, media, international partners and Community Based Organisations, have met from 9th – 12th February, 2015, in Cape Town to share experiences and deliberate on the role and the impacts of extractives on communities, the environment, animal life and society at large. 
 
This marks the 6th year of the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) which has grown from its modest 40 to over 300 international delegates, and in particular from Africa.  
 
Cognisant of the failure to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the subsequent efforts towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 agenda, financing for development should remain a national obligation.  
 
We are convinced that the capitalist system puts profits above people, and fails to sustain harmonious relations within society. The failure of African governments to fulfil regional instruments, including the Africa Mining Vision (AMV), is a demonstration of its weak governance. 
 
We have further noted the flagrant violation of ethical and legal standards and believe that without principled, just and effective regulation of the extractive and related industries, people will remain impoverished. 
 
We are cognisant of trade and investment policies that have had a negative impact on governments’ ability to fulfil its development agenda and lift communities out of poverty. Governments have an opportunity – and duty – to ensure that natural resources benefit more people more widely and that companies operating in their respective countries are acting according to ethical and legal standards.  
 
We call upon all African governments to commit to rising to the challenge set forth in our priority recommendations and make citizen-centred decisions about the investment of natural resources.  
 
  1. Taxation and Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs)
    1. There is widespread consensus and evidence of the devastating impacts of Illicit financial flows (IFFs), tax avoidance and tax evasion on Africa’s ability to address its development and poverty challenges. There is therefore an urgent need for African governments, individually and collectively under the leadership of the AU to step up actions to stop the bleeding of resources from the continent. The launch of the high level panel (HLP) report on IFF in Africa led by former president Mr Thabo Mbeki provides an opportunity for African governments, civil society and citizens to join hands and push for real transformative changes in the international financial architecture. We support the need for a global framework that enables enhanced domestic resource mobilization, clamping down on corporate tax malpractice and putting an end to illicit outflows of resources from the continent.  
    2. To realise the above, we call on the African Union (AU) and African governments:  
      1. To establish and situate a specific agency within the AU and its related processes as the leading African institutional space for dealing with Illicit financial flows and asserting its eminence and legitimacy in relation to other international bodies in order to play a greater and more active role within the G20 and OECD processes and not consider Africa’s role as passive. 
      2. To strengthen the role of regional and continental groupings such as RECs, UNECA and ATAF by putting in place adequate institutional and political mechanisms that ensure a clear vision, roadmap and action plan for the implementation of key measures to tackle illicit financial flows. Such mechanisms must ensure and protect the role for civil society and citizen’s participation. 
      3. To review their fiscal policies domestically and regionally and remove tax incentives that erodes their tax bases and promotes tax competition. African governments should learn from other regional experiences, where governments are willing and able to tackle IFFs through the use of innovative country specific anti-tax avoidance practices.  
      4. To send a clear and firm message to the international community and call for cooperation in stopping IFFs from Africa. Since this is not only an Africa problem, finding a solution to these challenges requires international cooperation and leadership to support Africa and not undermine the continent’s efforts.  
  2. Transparency and Accountability
    1. We call for the real-time disclosure of all project-level mining-related permits, licenses, compliance reports, monitoring results (including air, water, waste and health) and contracts in a public registry available both online and as a hard copy. 
    2. We call for the public disclosure of all relevant contractual and fiscal terms relevant to EI projects to allow critical interrogation of the timing and magnitude of extractive industry revenue flows. 
    3. We call for the real-time public disclosure of beneficial ownership of Extractive Industries companies, including, those entities providing services via  government contracts and beneficiaries of trusts. 
    4. We call on governments to adopt whistle blowing protection mechanisms that incentivise those who publicise corruption and illegal government and corporate activities.  
  3. Environmental rights and community monitoring
    1. We call on governments to support mining community initiatives in tracking and assessing multi-national corporation activities and mitigate the social, cultural and environmental impacts of those activities. 
    2. We call on governments and MNCs to negotiate with communities as opposed to consulting, since the latter is inadequate and diminishes our real rights to negotiate the use of our land and environment. Consultation fails to include the right to say NO. 
    3. We call for the adherence to the international law principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent as a continuous process, rather than a once-off practice and adequate government investment in environmental compliance and enforcement. 
    4. We call on government and MNCs to accept, that where mining is unavoidable and communities are relocated, that communities be compensated in accordance with the real value of the land, including the value of the mineral resource under the land and pecuniary rights.  
    5. We call for the rational and just utilisation of the land and the environment and an end to looting and land grabbing for foreign food production, mining and other forms of extractives. Where the environment and livelihoods are degraded or destroyed, these actions should lend itself to stringent recourse.  
  4. Access to Remedy: Litigation and Mining
    1. We call on government to revoke mining licenses where there is non-compliance to Social and Labour Plans (SLPs) that have been agreed to.  
    2. We call on government to give effect to the fact that SLPs and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) are public documents which should be readily available to the public.  
    3. We call on government to ensure that SLPs are actually and effectively negotiated with communities and workers. We further call on an inclusive process with communities, as it pertains to EIA. 
    4. We call on government to strengthen judicial systems and to provide equal access to justice for mining communities.  
    5. We call on governments to provide adequate resources for human rights commissions to investigate; monitor and take action against human rights abuses in the extractives sector. 
    6. Cognisant of the extreme danger of climate change to Africa, where 200 million people are anticipated to perish this century because of droughts and floods, we demand a proper accounting, mitigation and compensation for the extremely high proportion of Africa's greenhouse gas emissions that come directly and indirectly from mining and smelting. 
  5. Artisanal mining
    1. We call upon government to decriminalise artisanal mining, so that miners can be trained; safety standards can be maintained and whole communities can be liberated from the oppression of criminal gangs.  
    2. With reference to 5.1, proactive measures must be found inter alia through the formation of a national Commission which will bring the activities of artisanal miners into the mainstream protection and support of the state.
      1. In addition, this national Commission should: 
      2. Consider how markets for the sale of ASM mined minerals and for the purchase chemicals such as mercury, can be created to ensure the regulation of the sector and the protection of human and environmental health. 
      3. Pay special attention to the intersections where women are faced with violence, oppression and exploitation in order to ensure that protections and safeguards are built into the legislation which decriminalises ASM and brings the sector under the protection of the state. 
      4. Investigate what policy and laws must be enacted at both national and regional levels which will encourage cooperative formations that can help ASM communities to thrive together and ensure safety and benefits for miners and communities. ASM activities should also be part of the policy process at grassroots levels. 
      5. Legislation must be empowering for ASM and for the communities that depend on it for their livelihoods and must not be prohibitive especially where no other alternatives are available to communities living in poverty. 
      6. Legislation and Policy should ensure that Artisanal industrial beneficiation is funded and supported in order to create industrial capacity at local level that can serve as alternatives to mining for communities living in poverty.
  6. Women and Extractives
    1.  We call on government to ensure the equal inclusion of women in all decision-making processes that directly or indirectly affect them. 
    2. We call on government to create adequate platforms for women to organise and that these platforms are protected. 
    3. We call on governments to amend mining and labour legislation to effect the gendered re-engineering of the workplace and ensure the enforcement of the law; particularly as it relates to women in the workplace.  
  7. Mining, Health and Labour
    1. We insist that the extractive industry accepts its responsibility for the health and safety of mine workers and communities and to compensate those directly and indirectly impacted. This is especially important for those who have suffered from tuberculosis; silicosis and other mining related illnesses.   
    2. We call for the regulated development and implementation of sustainable monitoring systems in all mining operations throughout the African region. The monitoring systems must be:
      1. linked to production; 
      2. implemented and enforced independently from industry; 
      3. capable of adequate monitoring of exposures and health; 
      4. Capable of adequate monitoring on a global and societal basis, so as to monitor the broader effects of mining on communities. 
    3. We call on the Medical Bureau of Occupational Diseases (and other bodies throughout the region charged with the administration of compensation for occupational lung disease) to fulfil their statutory obligations and requirements, including the obligation to provide detailed reports on the exposure of mineworkers to harmful toxins, which includes data on: 
      1. What mineworkers are exposed to; 
      2. The levels of exposure; and 
      3. How many mineworkers have been exposed. 
    4. We call on all corporations involved in mining throughout the region to include details of dust monitoring and the mitigation of risk of exposure to dust on their mines in their due diligence reports. 
    5. We call on the AU to harmonise the standards, regulations, policies and practices relating to occupational health and safety regionally. 
 
We hereby affirm our commitment to the above stated issues and pledge our on-going support on the same with unflinching resolve. We are also committed to working together with governments, corporations, communities and other progressive forces to ensure that these demands are met. 
Declared at the 6th Alternative Mining Indaba held in Cape Town, South Africa in February 2015 with participants from: Angola ,Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Cameron, Canada, Chad, Colombia, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, India, Ivory Coast , Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria and Norway, Republic of South Africa, Senegal , South Sudan , Swaziland , Sweden , Switzerland , Tanzania , Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe. 
 
The Alternative Mining Indaba is supported by Economic Justice Network of FOCCISA; Oxfam South Africa; Oxfam America; Bench Marks Foundation; Open Society Foundation of South Africa; OSISA; Diakonia; Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and Kairos. 
 
 
 
 
 
Country: 
Sectors: 
Work: 
Documentations: