Central and West Africa’s precious metals sector is significantly underutilized and has the potential to drive the regions’ collective development, industry experts have said.
Speaking at this week’s Mines and Money Conference at the Business Design Center in London, a panel of seasoned investors expressed their concern over the future of the regions’ minerals sector.
According to Richard Crookes, a ZCCM Investment Holdings partner in Zambia-based Lubambe Copper Mine Limited, there are new mining investment opportunities in Central and West Africa.
ZCCM is an investments holdings company with diversified interests in mining, energy and other sectors of the Zambian economy.
Crookes, a Representative for private equity firm, EMR Capital was part of this week’s a panel discussion that sought to identify opportunities in the sector. Though ZCCM’s operations have been focused on Southern Africa, the panel hinted at opportunities in Central and West African states such as Gabon, Guinea, Mali and Senegal, among others.
Edward Haslam, Director of gold mining company, Centamin, said prospective jurisdictions for mining investment include Zimbabwe, Kyrgyzstan and West Africa.
Metals in Central and West Africa are topical at the moment with aluminum, cobalt, copper, gold, and steel accounting for some of the region’s major exports.
The panel said there will be greater investment in certain minerals, adding that there is more discovery to be done.
However, 19 African countries have changed their mining regulations since 2010, creating a somewhat challenging environment for investment.
“Legal reform in Africa is systematic, not just country by country,” said Nneoma Veronica Nwogu, Senior Counsel at the World Bank.
“The African Union is pushing mining changes,” she added.
At the forum, panelists noted that the industry can exponentially benefit by embedding itself in the process of technological change.