Report by GIGA shows both negative and positive social impact of Chinese mining in Africa

Author: Heidi Vella, Mining Technology , Published on: 17 January 2018

"Blessing and curse: understanding the social impact of Chinese mining in Africa"

A new report [titled ‘At Africa’s Expense? Disaggregating the Social Impact of Chinese Mining Operations’] by the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) attempts to determine the social impacts of Chinese mining operations in Africa. The study, which found both positives and negatives, once again highlights the need for African nation states to benefit more from their own natural resources.

…[The research] studies novel data on the control rights regimes of diamond, gold and copper mines and geo-referenced information… [It]concludes that the effect of Chinese mining companies on African local development is ambiguous: while proximity to Chinese operated mines is associated with anti-Chinese sentiments and unemployment, populations living close to Chinse mining areas enjoy better infrastructure, such as paved roads or piped water. Although…this is an initial investigation and more research is required, …its findings ‘partly substantiate the conflict-enhancing effect of Chinese mine operators at the local level’.

…Lizzie Parsons from Global Witness says many Chinese companies overseas have a ‘long way to go’ before they can be considered as engaging well with local communities. …“Open and ongoing communication between communities and companies, matched with a commitment by companies to respond, would reduce the risks they face, such as where complaints lead to local protests or reputational damage,” says Parsons. “Good communication would also allow for companies to improve future operations in-line with community demands and international standards.”…

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