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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Australian miners flock to Africa

Investment by Australian companies in Africa’s resources sector has grown to an estimated $20 billion, as confidence in the continent’s future grows, a Perth conference has been told.

The number of Australian mining firms listed on the domestic bourse operating in Africa has risen from 54 in 2003 to more than 160 currently.

‘‘This year alone, more than 20 ASX-listed companies have been added to the number of firms with assets in Africa,’’ Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade secretary Dennis Richardson told the Paydirt Africa Down Under conference. ‘‘The growth of this investment has been impressive, both in absolute numbers and in geographical spread.


Investment by Australian companies in Africa’s resources sector has grown to an estimated $20 billion, as confidence in the continent’s future grows, a Perth conference has been told.

The number of Australian mining firms listed on the domestic bourse operating in Africa has risen from 54 in 2003 to more than 160 currently.

‘‘This year alone, more than 20 ASX-listed companies have been added to the number of firms with assets in Africa,’’ Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade secretary Dennis Richardson told the Paydirt Africa Down Under conference. ‘‘The growth of this investment has been impressive, both in absolute numbers and in geographical spread.
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‘‘Africa has more overseas mining projects held by Australian companies than any other region - about 40 per cent.

‘‘Over 170 Australian companies are now involved in mining projects in nearly 40 African countries, with this footprint covering involvement in nearly 500 mines and exploration projects.’’

He said Africa was now more politically stable and prosperous than at any time in its past but barriers still needed to be overcome for the continent to realise its potential for much more Australian investment.

‘‘Specifically, in order to raise capital and bring projects to fruition, legal and regulatory clarity and transparency will be essential, especially when it comes to mining titles, leases and licences.’’

Botswana, Ghana, Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia were ranked within the world’s top 30 regimes, a recent worldwide survey of mining company views on the investment appeal of various jurisdictions by Canada’s Fraser Institute found.

Delegate numbers at the conference - which is the largest Africa-focused business event outside of Africa - have risen to 1400 from about 200 in 2003 when it first began.

A record contingent of resources ministers from 10 African countries - South Africa, Eritrea and Mali, Botswana, Nigeria, Malawi, Senegal, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea and Zambia - will attend the three-day event to spruik the benefits of investing in their nation’s mining sector.

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