Roundup: African governments move to grow mining industry

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By Terri Fortein

CAPE TOWN, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) - The 2020 Investing in African Mining Indaba ended here on Thursday, with a call from delegates to grow the mining industry in Africa.

At the world's largest mining investment conference, government officials and mining ministry leaders emphasized the need for reform, policy certainty and innovations to attract investment.

The conference also saw delegates trying to position their respective countries as favourable investment destinations.

In his speech, President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, tried to woo investors, pledging to carry out fiscal reforms, resolve legal and regulatory issues, improve infrastructure, introduce advanced technology and regulate the labor force.

He said Sierra Leone planed to strengthen public financial management systems and multilateral institutions to make the economy more resilient through diversification.

South African Minster of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe told the audience that his government would move to establish a new energy entity to reduce dependence on state-run electricity utility Eskom, which is blamed for constant rolling power blackouts in the country.

He said that allowing independent power producers to enter the market is essential to close the energy gap.

Mantashe also reaffirmed that his government is committed to working with investors to enhance both policy and regulatory certainty.

Delegates from about 40 countries showed continued interest in South Africa's mining industry as the country has created what the government has coined as an enabling regulatory and policy environment for investment in mining to take place.

The gazetting and implementation of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) by the South African government was seen as a critical step in its journey to ensuring security of energy supply for the industry and the country at large.

"The foundation for our economic growth is a solid mining and energy industrial complex, which will allow other sectors of the economy to thrive," Mantashe told reporters.

"We are therefore working hard to solidify that section of the economy,"he added.

South Africa remains an attractive destination for investment in mining, and the government will continue to work with the sector, stakeholders and social partners to ensure that it continues to make a positive contribution to the economy, the minister said.

In an effort to promote and improve intra-continental trade, Mantashe held bilateral meetings with several ministers from other countries on the sidelines of the conference.

The Democratic Republic of Congo's Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga called on all stakeholders to respect the changes in the country's mining code, in apparent reference to ongoing efforts to nationalize mining resources, an issue which continues to be a dominant talking point across the African mining industry.

The conference, which began on Monday, brought together representatives from 94 countries and regions, including more than 38 ministers, under the theme "Optimising Growth and Investment in the Digitized Mining Economy."

The delegates were exploring how the mining industry can be supported to drive investment in a changing technological landscape. Enditem

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