COLUMN-African miners, governments talk past each other, threatening boom – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – February 6, 2018)

CAPE TOWN, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Africa’s mining industry should be poised on the verge of great things, but instead it appears to be seeking a reset button as miners continue to clash with governments over how best to exploit the continent’s resources.

Africa is home to large reserves of the metals essential to the battery revolution, such as cobalt and copper, and it is also rich in gold, iron ore, high-quality coal and uranium, to name a few.

But similar to last year, the Investing in African Mining Indaba conference in Cape Town was a litany of miners and ministers talking past each other this week, seemingly getting no closer to developing a consistent regulatory framework.

Of course, not every country in Africa is experiencing problems with its mining sector. There are success stories where companies, government and stakeholders such as labour and local communities have worked together.

Two of the continent’s powerhouses, though, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), are still mired in disputes that threaten to curtail the investment all sides say they want, boosting the risk that the continent is again left behind in the race to supply much-needed minerals to Asian demand centres.

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