Mining and the Environment in West Africa

Globalization and demand from major markets are driving growing interest for resource extraction in Africa. This includes demand for infrastructure materials and metals used in information and communications technologies. Technological advances are also making resource extraction in previously inaccessible parts of remote areas easier.

Consequently, Africa is seen as a growth region, accounting for 10% of today’s mine production and 15% of investments in the project pipeline. Yet access to new areas and the search for new resources bring new risks, as recent experience with shale gas fracking illustrates. The introduction of new mines and technologies highlights the importance of applying recognized principles such as precaution, prevention, and “Free, Prior and Informed Consent”. These principles remain relevant as extractive majors and small-scale operators seek new frontiers in Africa.

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