With the argument of “alleged lack of productivity”, mining multinationals have managed to get States to cease to be regulators and to become facilitators instead, as Bonnie Campbell, Canadian academic who heads the Investigation Group on Mining Activities in Africa within the Institute D’Etudes Internationales de Montréal, stated.
“Since the 1980s there have been attempts by a series of players that include Multilateral Financial Institutions (MFI), bilateral agencies and extractive companies to open up the mining sector in indebted African countries”, Campbell said in an interview given to the website fuhem.es
“This is not an activity led only by mining companies because one must take into account that the Structural Adjustment Programs promoted by the MFIs identify mining as a means to obtain resources with which to repay external debt”, the specialist adds.
She goes on to say that it is something similar to what is happening in Latin America: “there is a responsibility shared between companies, the MFIs and the host governments. At the request of the Financial Institutions, legislation for the mining sector offering companies incentives, reductions in taxes or royalties, has managed to be redefined thereby opening countries up to foreign investment”.
Countries are told that this process would contribute to their development, but it has not been so. Often companies promise to pay certain amounts for their operations, but governments have not been able to make them comply. Furthermore, serious environmental and social impacts have occurred as a result of mining activity: for example, at times the population has lost its way of life and has been forced to abandon the land from which it lived.
In the reform of the regulatory framework for mining in Africa, Campbell points out four trends: 1) a strong retreat of the State in the mining sector; 2) along with the redefinition of its role in the sector and the reduction and reconceptualisation of its sovereignty; 3) the reduced room for manoeuvre of rich countries in mining resources and of their political space; and 4) the appearance of powerful contradictions which have accompanied the liberalisation process.
*Translated from Spanish by Rhona Desmond*
The complete interview (in Spanish) can be read by following the link below.
[complete interview (in Spanish)](http://www.fuhem.es/media/ecosocial/File/Entrevistas/Entrevista%20a%20Bonnie%20Campbell.pdf)