The rights of the indigenous people occupied the center stage at the Mining Business International (MBI) conference held at the safari park hotel in Nairobi Kenya. The conference that started on 16th October 2014 had several mining experts grace it.
Now in its 4th year, the MBI has quickly earned recognition as the a platform in Eastern Africa that holistically captures the trends in the mining industry and seeks to tackle the challenges faced in the industry regionally. The MBI conference aims to harness the mining potential in Eastern Africa by attracting both local and foreign investors to the region. This is accomplished by facilitating discussions that stimulate industry growth and address critical issues.
According to Dr. Melba Wasuna, a human rights lawyer, abuses arising from mining practices make up to two thirds of corporate related human rights abuses. These are wide spread and occur when the community and the resources are not exploited properly. One of the biggest risks to successful mineral resource exploitation is the acquisition of the social licence from the community around the mines. The community engagement should be guided by the constitution and case laws. It has to be real and manifest.
Mr. David Scott the president and CEO of Tembo Gold said ‘There can never be a final engagement with the community, it has to be consistent and continuous’. There should be a people based succession plan when the mining operations start. Legislation for local content should also be formulated and enforced according to the delegates who attended.
‘We should be able to set our own standards and not keep on reacting to what others are doing’ said Mr. John Bosco Kanyangoga, a Rwandan International Trade lawyer.
The two-day conference is set to come to completion on 16th October 2014.