Angola wants bureaucracy-free legislation in its mining industry

Nov 23, 2006 01:00 AM

The Angolan government, in its quest to develop its mining industry, is geared towards formulating a new, bureaucracy-free, broader and investment coaxing legislation in the mining sector in order that the country rakes in maximum benefits from its precious resources.
The country’s deputy Minister of Geology and Mining, Makenda Ambroise, on the sidelines of an International Workshop on mining, was quoted as saying the new legislation will take into account the national interests in mining as well as the importance of the same to the country’s development.

Angola is holding the international workshop in order that it shares notes with other mineral reach countries on how the sector is operated in these countries.
The deputy Minister told that with the advent of peace in 2002, the country wants to follow new paths and score considerable performances in the mining sector. He said this was the reason why it was working on the adjustment of its mining legislation, seeking to better face the new challenges, especially concerning the protection of national interests and of the investment framework after looking thoroughly into Angola’s potentialities.

“Angola is peaceful and open to the world. So, we are gathering contributions to improve the current law, to facilitate the investment framework, appreciate a better protection of the environment and secure a better living for the population,” he told.
He said with the new legislation, the government of Angola is also seeking to regulate not only the diamond sector, but other segments like those of uranium, quartz, asphalt, iron ore and other minerals found in the country. The country is currently studying how other neighbouring and advanced countries police their mining industries.

The international workshop, organized by the Multi-Sectoral Technical Commission for the Revision of Economic Legislation, is discussing such topics as strategic policies for the mining sector, future priorities and mining legislation. In addition, internationaltendencies and perspectives, experience on mining legislation in other continents and reforms to the mining legislation in the business perspective, are some of the themes under debate.
It is being convened by mining specialists from the host country, representatives of the United Nations, Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), World Bank, Agostinho Neto University (UAN), De Beers of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Brazil, Russia, and others.

Angola, the third largest country in sub-Saharan Africa is endowed with natural resources like gold, diamond and oil. It is Africa’s second largest producer of oil after Nigeria. Dogged by a 27 year-old civil war, its mining industry showed signs of resilience as it continued to provide the country with foreign earnings.
Reports indicate that mining contributes 12 % of Angola’s GDP (excluding the oil sector), of which the diamond industry alone constitutes over 98 % of the government's earnings.

And opening the workshop, assistant minister to the country’s Prime Minister Aguinaldo Jaime said there was need for an efficient and rational exploration of the country’s mining resources if the country is to rise in economic growth and register sustainable development.
“Angola possesses a wide variety of mining resources that are non-renewable. Their efficient and rational exploration is thus a must,” said Aguinaldo Jaime. He championed a rational public investment policy, balanced and integrated development of the mining and non-mining economies for the creation of an environment that attracts local and foreign private investment.

He said there was a need for an appropriate strategy for the mining sector capable of outlining the role of the state and public institutions in the prospecting, exploration and trade of mining resources.
“There is need for a definition of the role of the national companies of private capital, the participation of informal prospectors in the legal process of exploration of mining resources and the regulation of artisan production,” Jaime said adding that the concerns above led to Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos into creating the Technical Commission for Revision of the Mining Legislation (CTRLM), whose performance he said was above par.

CTRLM is mandated to review the main constraints of the mining sector and update the laws on mining industry as a whole and diamond mining in particular.
To this endeavour, the commission has designed a three-phased programme to make the mining industry in the country viable.
The first deals with a legal and institutional diagnosis that includes an inventory of all foreign legislation on the sector, particularly those in Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries.

The second phase tackles the drafting of the basis of the policy and strategy for the mining sector, preceded by the gathering of opinion of the national and foreign, public and private mining society on the said general basis for submission to Government.
The third phase tackles the approval of the general basis by the Government, and comprises the drafting of a mining bill.
“The general idea of the commission is to come up with a mining code that contains all legal system regulating mining activities in the country,” a report says.

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