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African Mining Vision: Repackaging a colonial paradigm?

Is the African Mining Vision (AMV) simply a continuation of the past colonial models of wealth accumulation that put profit before people? This is the question that will be discussed on Tuesday 10 October at an ActionAid panel discussion bringing together ActionAid representatives from eight countries as well as key stakeholders within the mining sector including UNECA, Dirco, Chamber of Mines and the Department of Mineral Resources.

ActionAid South Africa’s (AASA) position paper, which critiques the AMV and compares it to the People’s Mining Charter, adopted by South Africa’s Mining Affected Communities united in Action (MACUA) last year, says, “The AMV is striking in its unquestioning acceptance and immersion in old colonial assumptions of political and economic fundamentals and instead of offering an alternative paradigm, only succeeds in domesticating old European universalizing ideas of domination and control. The AMV succeeds in replicating old colonial extractives models which have historically and contemporaneously produced extreme inequality.”

Christopher Rutledge, ActionAid South Africa’s Natural Resources Manager explains that the AMV serves as a reference point for mining policy for the continent, but the top-down approach which lacks the centrality of marginalized people, particularly poor women and children, is deeply problematic.

“The AMV has the potential for development and for destruction. Research suggests an estimated 90 million people could potentially be displaced in Africa, 30 million of which would be due to mineral-based development alone. This is why we urgently need to bring mining affected voices into the conversation, so we can reimagine a mining vision that is people-centered, one that starts to decolonize the extractives industry which has been a central pillar on which colonialism has relied and continues to constrain new developmental and sustainable developmental paths that benefit the poorest people,” says Rutledge.

AASA together with ActionAid’s Africa Extractives Group will also consult this week to develop an alternative vision to the AMV, one likened to the People’s Mining Charter which will serve as an advocacy tool to inform and influence mining policies in various African countries.

AASA’s Mining and Extractives Project Manager Fatima Vally says that unlike the AMV, the alternative vision will recognize the fact that women in marginalized communities not only bear the brunt of the negative effects, but also subsidize mining operations by reproducing the workforce through unpaid care work.

“This needs to be acknowledged in policy and practice going forward to ensure substantive structural changes that move beyond patriarchal traditions,” explains Vally.


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