Australian High Commissioner in Accra hosts meeting with AfREC researcher and mining and development

The Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E. Mr Andrew Barnes, hosted AfREC Postgraduate Coordinator Mr Muhammad Dan Suleiman and other regional experts on mining, development and security to a lunch meeting in Accra on 27 June 2019. The meeting was held as part of consultations on a proposed collaborative project on mining and human development in Africa.

Participants included Dr Abdulai Darimani, until recently the Acting Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies, Dr Seth Appiah-Kubi, the National Director of A Rocha Ghana, Mr Richard Ellimah, Executive Director of Centre for Social Impact Studies (CeSIS) and Mr Jacob Tetteh Ahuno, Programs Officer at Ghana Integrity Initiative, a local chapter of Transparency International.

The meeting followed the West Africa Mining Security Conference organised in Accra by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other stakeholders in June. The Australian High Commission in Ghana also supports many local initiatives aimed at advancing human development and sustainable livelihoods.

Experts at the meeting shared perspectives on the nexus between mining and sustainable human development in Ghana and Africa more widely. Dr Darimani and Mr Ahuno are investigating the risk of corruption in the mining licensing process as part of Transparency International’s Mining for Sustainable Development program.

A Rocha Ghana plays a leading role in the Coalition of NGOs against Mining in the Atewa Forest, which is campaigning against the Ghana Government’s decision to go ahead with Bauxite mining in the Atewa Range Forest Reserve in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The Reserve is internationally recognised as one of the highest priority ecosystems in West Africa for its high species diversity, high levels of endemism and great hydrological importance. The bauxite mining project could affect the livelihoods of several communities and damage the Birim, Ayensu and Densu rivers and their numerous tributaries.

On his part, Mr Ellimah has decades of experience campaigning for and researching sustainable practices and development in the extractive industry, and has been the Executive Director of CeSIS since he founded it in 2011. He is an advocate of using mining revenue to fund the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at district levels in Ghana.

Issues discussed at the meeting include the impact of mining on the environment and the community, and the important role that African leaders have in working with and choosing ethical and responsible corporate partners.

The proposed project is to be spearheaded by Mrs Trish O’Reilly, a former CEO of Australia-Africa Mining and Energy Group (AAMEG) and now a Senior Consultant at Business for Development, and Mr Dan Suleiman who is an early career researcher of state-society relations, peace and security in Africa, and Africa’s international politics. AAMEG is the peak industry body for Australian mining and service companies active in Africa.

Stakeholders and experts at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), African Geopolitics, Minerals and Energy for Development Alliance (MEfDA), AAMEG, among others, have been consulted on the proposed project, which aims to advance ongoing discussions on corporate social responsibility, shared values, and business entities’ social licence to operate.

The project would advance our ongoing commitment to ethical and people-centred research and engagement. AfREC thanks Azumah Resources for funding Mr Dan Suleiman’s trip to Ghana, and the Australian High Commission in Ghana for their ongoing engagement with our Centre. Further discussions on the project idea will continue during Australia Africa Week in Perth in early September.

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