Risk-adverse investment dollar shy of African mining – by Tess Ingram (Sydney Morning Herald – September 2, 2015)


African countries are at risk of being some of the worst hit by the mining downturn as the shrinking pool of increasingly risk-adverse capital is invested elsewhere, industry experts warn.

Plummeting commodity prices coupled with rapid political and economic changes in many African countries have made it increasingly challenging for many African jurisdictions to attract miners, explorers and the prospective financiers that help drive their economies.

At the Africa Down Under mining conference in Perth on Tuesday, industry experts urged African delegates and government ministers to better partner with mining companies during the downturn and offer innovative solutions to help operators generate profits and attract investment.

Gilbert + Tobin lawyer Michael Blakiston told the conference African countries risked deterring investment as investors “who do have capital, have choices of where to take it”.

“Mining companies are suffering as a result of the policies many [African] countries are trying to introduce in the name of a new mining code or in the name of a more equitable distribution of wealth,” Mr Blakiston said.

“The challenge is in a climate when commodity prices are falling and debt markets are tight, there is not a lot of wealth to be created for a lot of mining companies. There is not an appreciation of the things that make these sorts of environments attractive in these tough times”.

Innovation needed

Perth-based EY mining partner Gavin Buckingham told Fairfax Media the downturn needed to be met with innovation.

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