Future of Australian-African mining

Mining ministers from African nations will meet with Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith in Perth next week.

Mining and energy ministers from several African nations will arrive in Perth next week to discuss the future of Australian-African mining links with Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith.

The conference’s convenor, Paydirt executive chairman Bill Repard, told MINING DAILY he hopes that all attendees will leave the event with a better understanding of the mining business in Africa.

“Over the last seven years that this event has been taking place, new relationships have always grown off the back of an initial meeting at Paydirt,” he said.

“The relationship between Australian and Africa dates back 15 to 20 years, although it has accelerated dramatically over the last four to five years

“There are more than 150 ASX-listed companies with projects in Africa and these are supported by around 150 to 200 Australian service companies.”

Ministers and officials from Ghana, Zambia, Namibia, Eritrea, Uganda, Nigeria and South Africa will address an audience of more than 800 delegates at the 7th annual Paydirt Africa Downunder Conference.

Smith will also deliver the keynote address, becoming the first Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs to do so.

According to Repard, the Minister’s participation is a vivid illustration of the importance of African minerals to Australian business and Australian technologies to African nations.

“The conference will be the largest gathering of African mining interests outside of the continent,” he said.

Repard said the investment axis between Australia and Africa had been under enormous pressure recently, as a result of the global financial crisis.

“Since the 2008 review, many resource-focused African countries have faced challenges from crisis-generated investment decisions made in overseas headquarters far removed from the continent,” he said.

“The result is that Africa, while resource rich, faces a challenge in 2010 to prevent investment dollars from moving offshore into Asia, North or South America, or even back into outback Australia.

“We expect these issues to be the primary focus of much of the lobbying and negotiations at next week’s conference.”

Paydirt Africa Downunder will be held at the Sheraton Perth Hotel next Thursday and Friday, 3 and 4 September.

More than 40 companies, government spokespeople and other experts in transcontinental mining and minerals engagement will present at the event.

There will be a particular focus on gold and base metals, uranium and industrial minerals.

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