Unleash the Potential of Africa through Mining Technology

Mining is important to Africa because most countries within the continent are either major consumers or major producers of mineral commodities. It is a source of mineral commodities that all countries find essential for maintaining and improving their standards of living.
Mined materials are needed to construct roads and hospitals, to build automobiles and houses, to make computers and satellites, to generate electricity, and to provide the many other goods and services that consumers enjoy.
In addition, mining is economically important to producing regions and countries. It provides employment, dividends and taxes that pay for hospitals, schools, and public facilities.
The mining industry produces a trained workforce and small businesses that can service communities in African countries and may initiate related businesses that can boost economies.
Mining also yields foreign exchange and accounts for a significant portion of the gross domestic product. It fosters a number of associated activities, such as manufacturing of mining equipment, provision of engineering and environmental services, and the development of world-class universities in the fields of geology, mining engineering, and metallurgy.
To effectively benefit from minerals, the continent should invest in new technologies in exploration, mining, and mineral processing for consumers and producers.
Tendai Kashiri, an expert in mining says investing in minerals technologies entails the availability of effective exploration and prospecting techniques and augmenting existing extraction or beatification capacity.
He says, “Investing in minerals technologies will directly and positively benefit minerals production and increase the wealth of most African countries.”
Investment in minerals technologies can help African countries reduce production costs; enhance the quality of existing mineral commodities; reduce adverse environmental, health and safety impacts; and create or make available entirely new mineral commodities.
For this, the SADC Parliamentary Forum has urged governments in the region to invest heavily in information systems to quantify resources in their countries for future generations.
African countries have vast mineral deposits, which they cannot quantify, and calls have been made to ensure that governments in the region invest in technology to ensure that they measure the value of their minerals for the benefit of the economy.
Southern Africa Resource Watch Executive Director, Claude Kabemba said, “Investment in minerals technology will play an important role when governments negotiate with potential investors.”
African governments should play seriously invest in mining and use the sector as a vehicle to effectively transform the economies of countries within the continent.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy, Edward Chindori-Chininga said, “Royalties and taxes are not enough for African governments to realise minerals’ full potential, adding that state enterprises should play major role in the transformation of economies.”
To economically transform, investment in technical and vocational education is critical.
Thus, African countries should embrace technology for mining education.
Most minerals mined in the African region are exported in their raw forms and at a cheap price; hence the need for mining firms in countries across the continent to invest in the value-addition plants to ensure maximum benefits.
For Africa to realise its economic potential, the continent needs to build first-class infrastructure.
This should service an afro-centric vision of economic policies. Honestly, African nations will not develop by selling commodities to Europe, America and China. The continent may not be able to compete immediately in selling manufactured goods to Europe. But in the short-term, with the right infrastructure and mineral technologies, the continent can benefit from its resources.

June 2013
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