Ms Thuli Makama, the Senior Advisor for Africa Oil Change International, says mining companies are busily calculating their business profits at the detriment of protecting the environment and communities within their extraction zones.
She has, therefore, called for the adoption of new business models in the extractive industry to directly relate with the environment and mining communities.
Ms Makama was delivering a keynote address at the 11th Alternative Mining Indaba 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa, where participants have met at a four-day workshop on the theme: “Environmentally and Economically Sustainable Mineral Economies in an era of Climate Change Catastrophe.”
It is being attended by major industry players, multinational organisations, governments, embassies, and faith and community-based organisations.
It also served as a training platform for selected Journos from Africa to hone their crafts on tracking Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) on the Continent.
The workshop is under the auspices of the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s (TRF) Wealth of Nations and the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism (IAJ).
Ms Makama said the resource was finite and the profit margins were expeditiously expanded to the benefit of the “very few” majority while “the environment becomes secondary in all these dealings across Africa.”
She entreated mining companies to evolve actions that would cushion such vulnerable groups as their inaction contributed directly to climate change, conflicts and violence.
Mr Mandela Mbongeni Hadebe, the Executive Director of Environmental Justice Network, called for further research into how mining exacerbated climate change and scarcity of water availability for appropriate strategies to evolve to stem its effect on humans and the environment.
He said mining was having a serious toll on the community and the environment.
Mr Brown Motsau, Chairperson of the Steering Committee, AMI 2020, said the overall goal was to provide the Continent with a safe space to dialogue and seek solutions to its concerns.
It was also to strengthen advocacy to address environmental issues and combat climate change.
He said AMI 2020 sought to campaign to place an intersection of mining and climate change at the core of Natural Resource Governance discourse.
Ms Lily Shaw, a young activist, Rebellion Extinction, Cape Town, said: “Mining in its current form leaves no future for the youth of Africa as the gem that shines on the path of the young are being yanked out with no recourse for generations to come.”