Development of an African mineral resource classification system now underway

Sierra Leone diamond mining1Diamond mining in Kono district, Sierra Leone. (Image source: USAID/Commons)The African-based framework, which is based on the UNFC and AMV, will enhance regional cooperation in sustainable development by providing a classification framework for management all energy and mineral resources on land, continental shelf, and seabed 

A pioneering initiative to set up an African Mineral Resource Classification (AMREC) system based on the United Nations Frameworks Classification for Fossil Energy and Mineral Reserves and Resources (UNFC) is now underway. Spearheaded by the African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC), AMREC is the continental framework that will harmonize, adapt, and develop the UNFC according to the principles of the Africa Mining Vision (AMV).

The African-based framework, which is based on the UNFC and AMV, will enhance regional cooperation in sustainable development by providing a classification framework for management all energy and mineral resources on land, continental shelf and seabed. With energy and mineral sectors facing a myriad of challenges related to economics, environmental and social aspects, including the commitments of the Paris Accord and aspirations of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the AMREC, like UNFC, will be an efficient system that will serve as an important tool; especially for stakeholders with sustainability as its core concept and foundation. 

The AMREC came about during deliberations on the AMDC initiative, the Geological and Mineral Information Strategy (GMIS). Geological experts discussed and endorsed the adoption of the principles of the UNFC as a model for the development of an African mineral classification system. Kaiser de Souza, Chief, Geology and Mineral Information Section, of AMDC, said, “Adopting the UNFC in the African context can be a tool to achieve transparent, equitable, and optimal exploitation of mineral resources for broad-based sustainable growth and socio-economic development for the region.”

He added that the new classification system for the region could add value to implement the AMV by supporting decision-making for investment and governance along the mining value chain in African countries. Additionally, the facilitation and harmonisation of international best practices to generate and interpret geological information consistently across African countries can lead to the emergence of Pan-African commodity exchanges.

The workshop that will bring about the establishment of AMREC will be held in Egypt at the beginning of October 2017. The meeting is set to bring together professionals from African extractive industries and international experts in resource classification. The meeting is also expected to: encourage robust discussion and proposals in harmonizing, adapting, implementing, and developing unifying system for the classification and reporting of fossil energy and mineral reserves and resources in Africa based on the UNFC; frame the requirements of developing detailed guidance for application of UNFC in Africa in line with the requirements of AMV; set up modalities for the setting up of Pan African Competent Person system, including the elaboration of a training programme; reach out to functional professional bodies in mineral, petroleum and renewable industries in Africa for collaborations on the proposed activities.

The workshop will run from 2 to 6 October 2017 in Cairo, Egypt.

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