Today marks the last day of the 2015 annual African Mining Indaba Conference and to close the conference, the late former President Nelson Mandela’s wife Graça Machel, President of the Foundation for Community Development, addressed the delegates.

Transformation in mining
In her keynote address on harnessing the transformative power of the mining industry on the African continent, the former first lady told mining delegates that conducting business as usual “can produce growth, but it doesn’t always produce development, let alone sustainability. More importantly, it doesn’t bring equity.”

She continued to address the matter of women, and the assumption that they could not be part of ‘demanding work’ in mining, and although she said she understood these claims;  she added that this did not mean women could not be part of management in mining or that women could not provide ‘strategic thinking’ – or even be a part of mining ownership.

“I think part of the problem we have with the mining industry are the structural issues that we have to deal with if we are to have a healthy industry,” she said.

Yesterday at the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) Machel asked that civil society groups formulate a template of how mining companies should interact with communities across the continent. She reiterated the call for communities to be involved in negotiations with multinational companies for benefits arising out of investments on their land.

“Let’s agree on a common agenda in which all of us will say we will change the landscape of mining industry on our continent.”