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Natural Resources (389)

The Marikana massacre in August 2012 forever altered the South African mining industry, particularly in the way labour unions and mining companies relate to each other. We spoke to SAIIA Research Fellow, Ross Harvey, about the state of the industry today.
Northam Platinum Mine and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) are currently embroiled in a protracted labour dispute. To date, the strike has cost the mine R360m in lost revenue and workers R50m in lost basic wages. Northam has revised its offer three times, whereas NUM has failed to budge. This dispute is the latest in a long line of strikes that have devastated the mining industry since early 2012.
Fishing in Africa represents a significant source of income, particularly at the local community level. We spoke to SAIIA Senior Researcher, Alex Benkenstein, about the state of fisheries in Africa, and priorities for their management.
SAIIA Report No 14, November 2013  Download - English (1.13 MB) Governance of Africa's Resources ProgrammeDespite their well-researched and widely recognised socioeconomic and ecological value, mangroves are among the world’s most threatened vegetation types. More than a fifth of the world’s mangroves have been lost over the past 30 years alone, and many of the remaining forests are degraded. The depletion of mangroves in many developing countries in particular is a cause for serious environmental and economic concern.
Contrary to the urgent calls for the reform of the Kimberley Process (KP), its year-end plenary took place in Johannesburg from 19 to 22 November 2013 without a breakthrough on the pressing reform questions. The outgoing chair, South Africa, will now handover to China in early 2014, with Angola in line to take the helm in 2015. Neither successor is likely to push hard on the reform front, underlying the extent to which South Africa’s own tenure had been a missed opportunity.
World Fisheries Day, celebrated each year on 21 November 2013, comes at a time when the South African Parliament is considering legislation that many feel will finally give small-scale fisheries a rightful stake in the country’s marine resources.
Close to half of the African continent is covered by dryland forests and these ecosystems support the livelihoods of more than 60 per cent of its citizens. However, we underestimate the value of dryland forests and SAIIA Researcher Mari-Lise Du Preez explains why they are essential.
On 22 and 23 October 2013 SAIIA’s Governance of Africa’s Resources Programme and the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) Directorate of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) co-hosted a conference titled ‘Best practice in the governance of Africa’s dryland forests: Implications for Southern Africa’. The event aimed to galvanise support for the dryland forests of Southern Africa among the public and private sectors, civil society and development partners.
By prioritising consensus among its state parties and industry stakeholders in defiance of calls by civil society organisations (CSOs) for governance-enhancing reform, the Kimberley Process Diamond Certification Scheme (KPCS or KP) risks sleep-walking into irrelevance.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 156, October 2013
Mozambique has been one of the ten fastest growing economies in the world from 2001-2010 and is forecast to continue its rapid growth trajectory. In 2014 Mozambique will commemorate 20 years of democracy and, given the substantial changes that have taken place in recent years, this provides a timely juncture to discuss emerging challenges and future perspectives on Mozambique, as well as the country’s role in the SADC region.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 153, September 2013
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 74, September 2013
Mozambique is in a period of rapid transition. Since the end of civil war in 1992 sound governance, infrastructure investments and support from the donor community have helped to boost commerce and tourism. However, it is the recent discovery of significant reserves of gas and coal which has contributed most to Mozambique’s position as one of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world from 2001–10.
SAIIA Report No 13, August 2013 Download - English (1.63 MB) Governance of Africa's Resources ProgrammeMozambique is in a period of rapid transition. Since the end of civil war in 1992 sound governance, infrastructure investments and support from the donor community have helped to boost commerce and tourism. However, it is the recent discovery of significant reserves of gas and coal which has contributed most to Mozambique’s position as one of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world from 2001–10. Notwithstanding the high levels of investment and exceptional growth rates, the majority of Mozambicans remain highly dependent on natural ecosystems to…
Public submissions to parliament on the revised Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill (MPRD-AB), originally gazetted in December 2012, were due last Friday September 6, 2013. It is hard to overstate the extent to which the final incarnation of this Bill will affect South Africa’s economic wellbeing.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 151, August 2013
The value of nature's ‘services’ and its non-market benefits need to be better understood and incorporated into the development choices that countries make. As resource-rich African countries are poised to receive an influx of new wealth from oil, coal and gas deposits, the need to motivate for coastal ecosystems to be prioritised, managed more effectively, protected and restored is becoming more urgent. In countries like Nigeria, Guinea Bissau and Mozambique, mangrove and coastal forests coincide with the physical location of fossil fuel discoveries and proposed port and infrastructure developments.
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 72, August 2013
SAIIA Policy Briefing 70, August 2013
Marikana has elicited a voluminous spectrum of analyses. The most insightful have pointed to the need for deep structural reforms, including innovative means of addressing the persistent challenges of migrant labour. Few, however, have drawn parallels between Marikana and the central problem of violence in South African society more broadly.
South Africa’s gold mining industry is in a perilous condition. In the second quarter of this year alone, the gold price plummeted $220 (R2 153) an ounce, partly in the wake of US economic recovery, which has reduced the demand for gold as a secure store of value.
Monday, 29 July 2013

Congo: the curse of riches

The Democratic Republic of Congo has witnessed another recent outbreak of violence related to the struggle over its rich natural resources. The central African country is faced with a dilemma which is frequently posed in Africa: Is there any way to turn the so-called ‘natural resource curse’ into a blessing?