9. Regional mining centres of excellence
The creation of regional mining centres of excellence has been a long-held objective of the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Over the past few decades there been various attempts to set up regional centres of excellence in key economic regions throughout Africa. These institutions would provide research, development and innovation, as well as geological services, mineral assaying/laboratory services, and training. This notion of the construction of regional centres of excellence was initially considered post-Independence when many mining regimes in Africa had been nationalised. It was thought that a regional government-supported centre of excellence could supply many of the services of a national geological survey and laboratory for member states that were insufficiently developed to have these institutions of their own.
The Southern and East Africa Mining Centre (SEAMIC) located in Tanzania has been the only successfully and enduring model of its kind in Africa. Most of the African countries that had opted for a nationalised mining administration post-Independence, opted for a private sector driven mining sector by the latter part of the 20th century. Hence, the demand for these services by member states has steadily declined. However, the African Minerals and Geosciences Centre continues to fill a need in the region. It focuses on artisanal and small scale mining support, gemology training, specialised geosciences training, industrial minerals, and others. It has replaced the former SEAMIC to describe its new pan-African scope. The institution has changed to meet the changing socio-economic and political climate on the Continent.
The Centre’s objectives are the following:
- To facilitate the co-ordination, harmonisation and access to mineral resources development and provision of support services in Africa.
- To establish, where relevant, Africa networks of programmes and services and to promote Africa collaboration.
- To promote indigenous mineral based industrialization.
- To promote awareness on potential of the mineral sector's contribution to the economic and social development in Africa.
- To promote responsible investment and free flow of capital, labour, goods and services for mining sector development in Africa.
- To facilitate the promotion of mining prospects with the highest potential for economic and social impact and
- To facilitate the harmonisation of mineral sector's policies and legislation in Africa