African Mining Industries – Africa is Home to several Natural and Mineral Resources embedded in its soils to cater to Africa’s ever-growing needs and global development. For over 200 years, Africa’s resources have been known to carter for over 20% of the world’s energy usage, need, and reservoir.
Since most of these Mineral resources can only be found deep down the earth, the term ‘digging deep to find Gold’ comes into literal play. Digging deep into the earth to find these useful resources is therefore referred to as ‘Mining’.
Mining is the extraction or obtaining of valuable, useful, or precious Minerals or terrestrial materials from the Earth. These Minerals include gold, coal, gemstones, chalk, ores, limestone, or natural gas.
Now that we have looked at the basics of Mining in Africa and its importance on the global stage. This article provides the reader (you) with 8 interesting/unknown FACTS about the Industry of Mining in Africa.
- Africa’s Mining Industry is One of the Largest in the Game: Africa as a continent boasts 11 million miles of land space which means those vast areas of land and even water is occupied by precious natural Minerals that leaves the rest of the world drooling.
Most African nations possess enough resources that overthrow that of some continents like Europe, Australia, and Oceania. This fact shows how synonymous Mining has become with Africa. Continents like Europe have come to depend on Africa’s Mining Industry for the provision of needed minerals for raw materials for fashion, construction, and production of everyday pieces of equipment.
- Gold Leads the Way: The African Mining Industry has Gold leading the way as the most mined Mineral from its soils. Nations like South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania and Mali are the leading nations when it comes to Gold Mining in Africa.
Gold Mining has been so popular and productive that it doesn’t take major companies or large Industries to Mine it. Individuals or groups of community members move into Gold sites and sell for personal or communal gain.
It isn’t unknown that villagers or community members troop from place to place with pickaxes and shovels in search of Gold sites, in countries like Congo.
- Africa’s Blood Diamond: Mining in Africa has always involved more than what happens in the Mining fields or sites. During the 1990s, the United Nations came up with the phrase ‘BLOOD Diamond’ and its definition. This was when civil wars between rebel groups and government or community militias occurred over the Diamond enriched areas of their countries.
Nations like Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sierra Leone brought global attention to the Diamond conflict because rough Diamonds were mined and sold to foreign merchants in exchange for weapons of warfare and alliance/support for these rebel groups.
The vast number of killings and destruction spawn by this act led to the phrase ‘Blood Diamond’ or ‘Conflict Diamond’.
- Employment in Mining: The Mining Industries in Africa has led to lots of employment and financial means for many individuals and families in Africa, alike. The unearthing of Natural Resources in African soils has brought hope to millions of poor people in Africa.
Studies have shown that the female gender is not left out of this large piece of cake, since 25% of women have left the Agricultural and Service sector to chase careers or opportunities in the Mining Industries.
Even young children from the ages 8-17 are not left out, since most of them are forced by circumstances to either join their parents in Mining fields or seek employment as labor hands to fend for themselves or their families.
Caption: Women work in a mine in Kintigna, surrounded by their young and school-age children.
Countries like Burkina Faso have seen the Mining Industries become one of the major employment facilities/providers in the nation.
- Overdependence: Most African nations that are rich in Natural Minerals or Resources have shown overdependence in this sector of the economy. The distinction of knowing whether a nation depends solely on its Natural Resources and its Mining Sector as a major aspect of its economic growth and development can be made known if:
- Mining and exportation of Natural Resources generate more than 20% of its exports earnings and revenues.
- The Mining Industry is a major means of employment and communal revenue.
- Other sectors of the economy that generate revenues have been left unattended for the Mining Industries.
This has led to further findings that show that:
- Out of the major 28 in Africa that possess Natural Gases and Hydrocarbons (Coal) within their soils, 75% of them are dependent on the exportation of Oil and Gas for earnings. Nations like Nigeria, Angola and Gabon have shown overdependence on Oil and Gas exportation.
- While nations like Botswana, South Africa, Ghana, Togo and Niger have shown overdependence on the Metals and Minerals Mining and exportation sector as a major national revenue.
- Mining and Child Labour in Africa: Most parents in Africa who have Mining as a major means of earning financially tend to take their children with them into these Mining fields as helping hands for labour purposes. Young kids can be seen in dangerous Mining tunnels trying to retrieve/collect or hauling large sacks of earth materials containing gold or ore.
The Mining sector/Industry is known for difficult or unhealthy work conditions and environment that can lead to injuries, diseases, and deaths of these children.
In Mining dependent nations in Africa, a lot of rural young children have been known to drop out of schools due to Mining-related issues.
According to research done by the Guinean NGO Action Mine; more than 3,600 children have dropped out of schools between 2017 and 2019 due to cases linked to gold Mining.
- Mining and Pollution in Africa: Mining is associated with deforestation, land degradation, air pollution, and upsetting the global ecosystem. Wastes generated by the Mining Industries on African lands contain high concentrations of metals and metalloids which can be mobilised, resulting in leaching into groundwater and surface water.
Pollution that comes with Mining, affects other sectors of the African nations like;
- The agricultural sector
- The construction sector and even the
- Health sector the most.
Places like Delta state in Nigeria have lost a lot of quality land space and aquatic life to oil spillage rendered useless and inhabitable.
- Mining; Exploitation, Deceit and Death: We can not deny that the discovery of Natural Resource and Minerals in the African soil has brought needed development and given the average African nation the opportunity and the bragging rights to join the rest of the developing world in creating a brighter future for her (Africa) and her future generations.
But we can not deny that Africa has barely been given the rights and the opportunity to reap from what Nature has sown into her soil. Since the exploitation of this mineral is done post-Mining, most African nations do not have or have been denied the necessary facilities to which they can transform or process these minerals into finished products.
Therefore, foreign organizations have even used these opportunities to exploit the African market, especially gold for cheap options that yield bigger investments for them and not for the Africans.
These Foreign Industries come with sugarcoated promises of economic growth, social development, and education, in most cases, they have only contributed to the depredation and disruption of the government system and economic structures, which in turn leads to the rise in poverty in areas where these resources are found.
The UN research shows that Africa loses a total of US$38 billion in a year through poor or underpricing of Mineral Resources, while US$25 billion is lost through other illegal means of transactions.
All this has seen to the abuse of Human Rights, Child Labour, and most times irrecoverable destruction to the environment and African ecosystem. Truly, the promises to transform the African continent by these Industries have been a smoke cloud.
The Shikana Group and the African Mining Industry.
The Research done by the Shikana Group in Tanzania provides some of the causes of exploitation of the Mining Industries and their Resources in Africa. Some of these are;
- Corruption on the part of government top officials leads to illegal flow of Natural Resources and uneven spread of financial inputs to all areas of the nation and its Health sectors.
- The use of rebel groups by foreign organisations and industries to cause chaos and mayhem on the market and bring about the devaluation of Natural Resources and national currencies.
- Lack of education allows these foreign Industries to deceive the natives of these resource-rich areas into Mining and selling unrefined Natural Resources for cheap prices, poor education facilities, and fake promises.
- Cheap or underappreciated Human Labour.
- Deflation of the local currency to devalue the worth of Mined Natural Resources on the global stage.
Shikana Group puts in work.
The Shikana Group proffers some solutions to the issues that trouble the Mining Industry in Africa. They’re a Legal Group based in Tanzania that takes on all major issues provoking the African continent whilst making themselves available for the common man.
In relation to Mining Industrialization and its improvement in Africa, a panel of experts and researchers on the field of MIning under the Shikana Group proffers that;
- Shikana Group insists that the government of every major mining nation in Africa should be held accountable for the issues relating to mining. There should be transparency when it comes to Mining related business and transactions with foreign investors.
- The Skikana Group brings themselves forward to assist African nations to review contract and pledges made by Foreign Industries that wish to explore the Mineral Resources of the nation/host. This is to prevent deceit and exploitation of local Mining Industries.
- The Shikana Group are leading pioneers in the fight against Child Labour and Abuse in Africa. In the future, the Shikana Group in partnership with major NGOs in Africa hopes to keep young African kids away from the mines through awareness and prosecution of offenders.
- The Shikana Group doesn’t just hope to fight Child Labour with mere words, they hope to use edication as a weapon to engage in this warfare. Education for both the old and young is necessary of Africa is expected to gain a foothold on the benefits of the Resources that mother Nature planted within her soils.