Africa Down Under Conference opens in Perth, Australia

BY: Shirley Asiedu-Addo
The Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Mr Bill Johnston
The Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Mr Bill Johnston

The Africa Down Under  (ADU) Conference which brings together high level industry players and experts in the mining industry from Australia and Africa together to explore potential investments has opened in Perth, Australia today August 29, 2018.

Over 1000 participants from several African countries and Australia, including mining ministers, officials and executives along the mining value chain,  technocrats and investors are attending the conference. 

The conference which has been held every year since 2002 is now the largest Africa mining conference.

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It serves as a platform to raise awareness of Australia's interests in African mining and energy in particular. 

Ghana's delegation

Leading Ghana's delegation to the conference is Mrs Barbara Oteng Gyasi, deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources who is expected to address the conference tomorrow.

Opening the conference, the Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Mr Bill Johnston said Australia was ready to build on economic ties particularly in mining, education and training for greater economic impact.

Accelerating Progress

He said the conference presents a platform for both continents to work accelerate the progress being made in  Africa, to help turn challenges into opportunities for mutual benefits.

Mr Johnston said Western Australia had already signed a Memorandum of Understanding  (MOU) with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa which provided a framework of cooperation for capacity building in mineral, agriculture an agribusiness as well as the transfer of mining and petroleum, education and training and related services and technology.

"We are all hoping to create greater economic and social opportunities for our countries and our people living in them", he stated.

Mr Johnston said these objectives could be achieved if there was a robust and active mining sector governed by a strong regulatory framework governing the extraction of mineral wealth and called for all to work to improve these regulatory systems.

In an interview later, Mrs Oteng Gyasi said Ghana was under taking a lot of policy changes to ensure that the negative impact of mining was reduced while maximized the benefits.

She indicated that Ghana remained an investment destination of choice considering its political stability, support for the private sector and the increased transparency in licensing mining companies.

She said she was optimistic that the conference would bring in investors who would be ready to work with the Ghanaian government for greater mutual benefits.

Mr John Welborn, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Resolute Mining Limited with operations at Babiani said the company had completed feasibility study at the Babiani Gold mine in Ghana which he stated has demonstrated the potential for a long life high margin project.

He said the $75 million project at Babiani would develop an approximately 2.5 million ounces resource at the rate of 100,000 ounces per year over an initial 10 year mine-life.

Mr Welborn said the geological richness of Africa, the enthusiasm of the African people, the economic potential and supportive governments, made Africa a great place to invest.

He however called for mining code stability and strength, taxation transparency and respect for mining conventions.