5th- 8th February 2024 (Cape Town, South Africa) – PALU had the honour of participating in the Alternative Mining Indaba, a pivotal gathering focusing on community concerns on the extraction of minerals within their localities, benefits derived from mining and associated environmental issues. Throughout the event, PALU engaged in dynamic discussions and shared expertise on critical issues surrounding mineral extraction, community welfare, and gender equality using its legal lenses. This year's event was themed “Energy Transition Minerals: Putting Communities First for an Inclusive Feminist Future”. This gathering aimed to address critical issues surrounding mineral extraction while prioritizing community welfare and gender equality.

During this event, PALU was actively engaged in three insightful sessions, each shedding light on various facets of the mining industry and its impact on African communities:

  • Exploring the Political Economy of Critical Minerals – The first session delved into the political economy of critical minerals, highlighting the crucial role of professionals in this domain. PALU underscored the significance of the legal profession in shaping a robust legal framework, offering guidance on national policies, professional ethics, policy advocacy, community engagement, legal capacity building, and human rights protection. This discussion was particularly pertinent in light of the burgeoning interest in Africa's critical minerals and the resulting challenges, including those related to resources-backed loans.
  • Navigating Beneficial Ownership Disclosure and Illicit Financial Flows – The second session centred on the intersection between Beneficial Ownership (BO) disclosure and Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs). PALU emphasized the importance of striking a balance between transparency and privacy through public disclosure of beneficial ownership information. It advocated for the establishment of legal frameworks addressing privacy concerns and the regulation of BO registries. Plenary discussions highlighted the interconnected nature of developmental struggles, emphasizing the need for transparency in public debt data to promote accountability and transparency.
  • Exploring the Linkage Between Debt and Vital Minerals – The final session delved into the linkage between debt and vital minerals, particularly in the context of the energy transition. PALU raised awareness of the potential consequences of the rising demand for critical minerals, which could lead to an increase in resources-backed loans. It emphasized the urgency of challenging the existing debt and mineral resources architecture to enhance debt management and mineral governance, ultimately aiming to prevent further impoverishment of the African continent.

In conclusion, PALU's participation in the Alternative Mining Indaba was instrumental in bridging the gap between debt struggles and mineral resources. Given the centrality of law and lawyers, it underscored the crucial role of the legal profession in addressing the challenges facing the African continent. By advocating for transparency, accountability, and community welfare, PALU continues to make significant strides towards a more equitable and sustainable future for all.

Authored By: Rangarirai Chikova- Economic Governance Officer within the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU).

Share this post