COMESA Secretariat and the Government of Western Australia have renewed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on mining for a six years period. The two parties signed the MoU at a ceremony in South Africa on the side-lines of the Mining Indaba Conference earlier this month in Cape Town.
Honourable Bill Joseph Johnston, Minister of Mines and Petroleum, signed on behalf of the Government of Western Australia while Mr. Sindiso Ngwenya signed for COMESA.
The MoU is expected to bolster support of the mining sector in the COMESA region. The pact provides a framework for cooperation between COMESA Member States and the Government of Western Australia in mineral and petroleum resources, agriculture, vocational training and capacity building.
The COMESA Industrial Policy and Strategy identifies Mining as a the key priority sectors with the highest potential for minerals that can be harnessed for economic transformation in the region. Zimbabwe, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo dominates the mining industry in the COMESA region.
The MoU covers the following areas of: information sharing on the development and administration of mining and petroleum policies, legal and regulatory frameworks in COMESA Member States (particularly in the areas of development of title management systems) special agreements, ownership of minerals, administration of royalty regimes, community development agreements and regulation of safety and environmental performance.
Other areas are training and human resources development in geosciences and the regulation of minerals and petroleum sectors; encouragement of exchange of faculty, researchers and graduate students at the tertiary level and promotion strategies for investment in minerals and petroleum and the development of linkages including integrating artisanal and small-scale mining into the major value chains.
COMESA signed the first MoU with the Government of Western Australia on 31st January 2014 in Lusaka, Zambia. Since then, COMESA Member States and the Secretariat participates in the annual mining conference in Australia (Africa Down Under) and the Indaba. The events unite investors, mining companies, governments and other stakeholders from around the world to learn and network, all towards the single goal of advancing mining on the continent. The Mining Indaba, is also dedicated to supporting education, career development, sustainable development, and other important causes in Africa`s mining sector.
At the Indaba, the COMESA delegation networked with key stakeholders in the mining industry, including private sector and development partners among others. It was also an opportunity to promote COMESA’s brand and attract private sector investment in mining.
Other members of the COMESA team were the Director of Industry and Agriculture Mr. Thierry Mutombo, the Director of Legal and Institutional Affairs Mr. Brian Chigawa and Senior Private Sector Development Officer Mr. Innocent Makwiramiti.