COMESA is working with the government of Western Australia to develop a harmonized regional mineral policy focusing on the legal and regulatory framework.
This is intended to level the operating environment for mineral resources exploitation.
Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya says the policy will be guided by the Africa Mining Vision and will lay emphasis on mining for development and socio-economic transformation.
Mr Ngwenya was speaking during the opening of the African Down Under (ADU) mining conference in Perth, Australia recently.
COMESA countries were represented by senior government officials including ministers in charge of mining from Ethiopia, Malawi, Sudan, Zambia and Deputy Minister from Zimbabwe.
Mr Ngwenya informed the meeting that the collaboration between Australia and the African continent had seen more Australian mining companies on the African continent and mining trade missions undertaken by companies such as Armour Energy Limited in May to Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania.
The ADU was an annual event that brought together African governments led by Ministers in charge of mining, business leaders, investors, consultants, financiers and executives from the mining services industries.
COMESA States participation followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Western Australia on collaboration in mineral resources development.
Mr Ngwenya said the primary aim of the MoU was to improve the management of natural resources so that they contributed to sustainable socio-economic growth and development and transformation within the region.
“An important aspect of the harmonized environment would be on optimizing the fiscal frameworks through appropriately configured taxation mechanisms,
“The experience of Australia in using its resource base as a springboard for socio-economic transformation continues to draw African countries to ADU to seek optimal ways to exploit the continent’s vast mineral resources to underpin development.”said Mr Ngwenya.
Under the MOU, the COMESA Secretariat would workon profiling mineral beneficiation in the region and on developing policy frameworks to cover the important areas of fiscal frameworks, sustainable mining development, corporate social responsibility, institutional strengthening and human skills development.
He added that Australia was a key player in financing minerals exploration and mine development, the world over and thus Africa looked at ADU as an opportunity to showcase geological potential and the prospectivity for certain minerals in its diverse geology.
He informed the meeting that mineral beneficiation and value addition was the cornerstone of the COMESA industrial development strategy as well as for the Tripartite COMESA-EAC-SADC Industrial Development agenda.
Australia investment in the mining industry in Africa had soared to over USD$ 30 billion and rising. He said over 120 companies out of 190 that were active in Africa were from state of Western Australia.
He said his government was working with COMESA to strengthen the capacity of the Member states to benefit more from their abundant mineral resources.