In producing the Mining in Africa Country Investment Guide (MACIG) in partnership with the African Mining Indaba, what is clear is how quickly the investors’ sentiment across Africa can dramatically change year-on-year in reaction to social and political developments and the uptick in the mining sector globally, hence the need for regular analysis increases.
Home to the African Mining Indaba conference, South Africa is a country with a long history of mining and the base for many mining service providers across the continent. Lately, however, investors are looking north into the Southern Africa region as political and economic uncertainty grips the former mining power. Challenges in one nation present opportunities in others – in this case Botswana and Zambia, both favoured by upticks in zinc and copper pricing and increased investment by gemstone majors.
In our research, this year based in Canada and Australia as well as on the African continent, we can report that investors continue to seek exploration opportunities in Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Ghana, whilst Senegal and Guinea are gaining attention backed by encouraging in- vestments. More favourable market conditions for nickel, lithium and iron ore indicate a more sustainable growth trajectory for the region following the gold project flurry of mid-2016. Gold, however, remains the key driver for the sector. Though security concerns remain, the recent attack in Burkina Faso may shake investors but should not be considered a deterrent. In fact, seeing the solid investments being made by companies such as Resolute Mining, IAMGold and Endeavour in the region, to name just a few, we can be encouraged that the West Africa investment flurry will not end any time soon.
Looking to the east, Ethiopia has been identified as the fastest growing economy in Africa for 2017, and the mining sector is showing impressive developments and attracting investments. Beyond the extensive exploration potential in Tanzania, the global headlines concerning Acacia’s disagreements with the Government provides an important story for investors to follow, as protectionism become more important across the continent. We observe a new dynamic emerging between international majors and local stakeholders, which will set new precedents for investments in the region for years to come.