Southern African Development Community (SADC) is home to over 340 million people and the region is endowed with abundance of mineral resources. It is against this backdrop that Heads of State and Government of SADC countries decided to develop and harmonize the legislation in the mineral sector for the region as a whole, hence the development of the Protocol on Mining. This was done to improve the lives of the SADC citizenry.
The Southern African Development Community Protocol on Mining was signed on 8th September 1997 and entered into force 10th February 2000.
The General Principles of the Protocol in Mining are contained in Article 2 and are as follows;
• Member States recognise that a thriving mining sector can contribute to economic development, poverty alleviation and improvement of the standard and quality of life throughout the Region.
• Member States shall seek to harmonise national and regional policies, strategies and programmes related to the development and exploitation of mineral resources.
• Member States agree to bear their own costs of participation in institutional mechanisms for the effective implementation of this Protocol except that the Mining Coordinating Unit administrative cost shall be borne by the hosting Member State.
• Member States agree to decide all matters related to the implementation of the Protocol by consensus.
• Member States agree to cooperate in facilitating the development of human and technological capacity.
• Member States shall encourage the development, transfer and mastery of science and technology throughout the Region.
• Member States shall encourage private sector participation in the exploitation of mineral resources.
• Member States shall promote economic empowerment of the historically disadvantaged in the mining sector.
• Member States agree that their governments and SADC shall improve the availability of public information to the private sector. Member States and other countries.
• Member States undertake to jointly develop and observe internationally accepted standards of health, mining safety and environmental protection.
Member States have through this Protocol, henceforth agreed to cooperate on a number of spheres, some of which are;
• Member States shall coordinate their efforts in creating and managing a database on exploitable mineral resources in the Region.
• Member States shall cooperate in capacity building in the creation of data dissemination media.
• Member States shall encourage information dissemination and sharing through, amongst other, things, the networking of institutions and industry.
• Member States shall encourage multilateral research in compilation of mineral occurrence data and other relevant data.
• Member States shall strive to improve the organization and dissemination of technical, investment and marketing information through, among other things, Bureaus and Chambers of Mines and other appropriate institutional mechanism.
Promotion of private sector participation
• Member States have agreed to adopt policies that encourage the exploration for and commercial exploration of mineral resources by the private sector.
• Member States have agreed to develop mechanism that enable the private sector's continued participation in the mining sector.
• Member States have agreed to strive to create a conducive environment for attracting local and foreign investment to the Region and to the mining sector in particular.
• As a way of ensuring sustainable environmental protection, Member States have agreed to promote sustainable development by ensuring that a balance between mineral development and environment protection is attained, Member States to encourage regional approach in conducting environment impact assessments especially in relation to shared systems and across border environmental effects, Member States agreed to collaborate in the development of programmes to train environmental scientists fields related to the mining sector and to undertake to share information on environmental protection and rehabilitation.
Occupational health and safety
• Member States have committed to cooperate in improving the practices and standards of occupational health and safety in the Region's sector.
• Member States have also agreed to encourage the sharing of training and any promotional facilities related to occupational health and mining safety in the Region.
The copy of the SADC Protocol on Mining can be accessed from the SADC website on this link:https://www.sadc.int/documents-publications/show/808