John Sisay Proffers Solution To Africa’s Mining Boom
John Sisay, one of the 100 most innovative thinkers in the world in 2012 has said that for mining to benefit Africa, investors in the industry must invest in innovative technology and infrastructure for the continent to derive maximum benefit.
He said that the White and Case event hosted in Cape Town, South Africa on Tuesday 7th February, 2017 on the topic ‘The African Outlook; Investing To Drive Sustainable and Equitable Growth’ is for the industry to utilise the full potential of technology enlightening that downstream mining has come late to the technology revolution and that new technologies such as drones; real time modelling and geo-coding are driving the next productivity gains in the sector while also making the sector itself more transparent adding that by utilising technology and innovation, we can also reduce costs within the industry and improve mine safety.
John Bonoh Sisay further said that adequate infrastructure is the key to growing productivity and securing investments in the sector emphasizing, “infrastructure is critical to the success of large-scale mining operations and is a pivotal part of growth in the mining sector. Facilities have often been lacking in Africa and have hindered growth in the industry.”
According to John Bonoh Sisay, for African states to form a mutual partnership with the mining sector, 2017 and beyond must be a time of change in the way the mining sector engages with nation states observing that the sector has derived great wealth from Africa but that clearly Africa hasn’t derived great wealth from mining.
He reiterated that in the 21st century this must change noting, “we have the opportunity to build a more equitable and sustainable mining sector that works for the industry but also for the countries who provide the mineral wealth” and recalled Sierra Rutile where he was the former Chief Executive Officer which was recently acquired by ILUKA.
John Sisay further looked at the collaboration between Sierra Rutile Limited and the government of Sierra Leone as a blueprint enlightening, “equitable, mutually beneficial partnerships between industry and government. It is possible for the process to be mutually beneficial though it is not easy” and continued that too often the rights of nation states have been overlooked in favour of capital investments underlining, “we must return the focus on empowering nation states to become equal business partners in the mining sector. This does not have to be a confrontational change.”
John Sisay, who has a proven track record of transforming mines in Africa, believes that mining in Africa has seen positive trends since the third quarter of 2016 as one of two regions that reported year on year gains intimating, “there is real potential in the African mining sector and we must all work together to harness this potential. Though investors are cautious and the market has been slow.”
He said that there is a myriad of opportunities in Africa which can be tapped into as global demand is also set to heighten not least in markets for gold and minerals such as cobalt highlighting, “we can begin to move away from the fluctuation we saw in 2016 to a more stable environment in 2017 by encouraging investments in the following areas; innovation and technology, infrastructure and in the communities and environments in which we operate and by engaging nation states as equal business partners.”
He furthered, “I will question the sincerity of the suggestion-the use of cheap labour over the utilization of appropriate technologies which will create fewer but high value jobs” and encouraged the industry to utilise the full potential of technology and adequate infrastructure which are key to growing productivity and securing investments.
By Abdul R. Bedor Kamara
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