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Calls for Mining Indaba to be more inclusive

It costs more than R1,000 for each delegate to attend the event.

Community groups from across Africa are taking part in Alternative Mining Indaba on 9 February 2015. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - A march by delegates attending the Alternative Mining Indaba in Cape Town has ended with a call for the organisers of the African Mining Indaba to make the event more inclusive by lowering the cost of admission.

At the moment it costs more than R1,000 for each delegate to attend the prestigious event which is now in its 21st year.

The alternative event is hosting community awareness groups, environmental activists, NGOs as well as unions such as the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), which is boycotting the main event.

Bench Marks foundation director John Capel is one of the leaders of the protest.

Capel says the main reason for demonstrating is to highlight the exclusivity of the annual African Mining Indaba.

"The indaba should have more representatives from communities and at the moment the costs are prohibitive."

He claims foreign investment in African mining is of little benefit to the continent and says companies should stop moving communities to mine their land.

"Who is benefiting and who is investing? It's definitely not Africa."

The small group of activists held up placards about the health risks of mining coal and the lack of beneficiation to communities during their one-hour protest, before police forced them to move.

INCREASED DEMAND FOR MINOR METALS

Experts identified increased demand for minor metals due to the uptake in technology around the world.

This was identified as one of the most important trends for 2015.

These metals include coltan, uranium and magnesium found in smartphones laptops and other mobile devices.

Africa has some of the largest deposits of these metals with the Democratic Republic of Congo most notably possessing around 80 percent of known coltan deposits.

Core Consultants Managing Director Lara Smith said increased globalisation had influenced the market trajectory.

"The trend towards portability can be seen by the uptake of smartphones. If we take subscriptions as a proxy for production, we note that as of 2014, there are about 3.3 billion mobile subscriptions."

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