From Margaret O’Callaghan (Crawford School, ANU)
In November, 2015, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific through the Crawford School’s Resources Environment and Development Program, hosted an international conference on informal (or artisanal) mining in the contemporary world as part of two ARC research grant funded projects. The primary purpose was to engage with the scholarly understanding of contemporary agrarian transition, the political ecology of mineral extraction and other related aspects. Dozens of participants came from all over the world and discussed their research into the nature and dimensions of this form of mining. African countries rated a number of mentions and Kenyan Catherine Ngonze who has just joined the UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support in Belgium, spoke about the African Mining Vision and related matters. She noted how Africa’s strong economic growth, infrastructure boom and rapid urbanization have been driving a demand for construction materials and other relatively low value materials, but which nethertheless have great employment creation value and helps to stimulate intra-Africa trade. She has also been working on a project with women miners, including in Zambia.
The conference program also included a keynote presentation on wealth creation in Africa by Professor Gavin Hilson, and two papers on Ghana, one by Ms Elizabeth Koomson and the other by Professor Petra Tschakert