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CSOs to form a coalition to fight corruption in the mining sector

CSOs to form a coalition to fight corruption in the mining sector

Civic associations based in Ethiopia are poised to form a coalition in a bid to fight misconducts in and around the mining sector.

In a consultative meeting hosted by Transparency Ethiopia, civic societies pointed out that locals are sufferings because of the governments’ failure to uphold environmental rights, defend public interest and get sufficient compensation when certain mining companies get exploration and extraction licenses.

“Due to the government’s failure to protect the public, communities are now filing lawsuits, organizing protests and engaging in political protests against this,” Eyasu Alamrew, Transparency Ethiopia vice-chairman said to The Reporter.

The coalition, planned to be established this year, has an intention of forming a platform that could bring government, mining operation companies, and the public under one table before the firms get a right to explore minerals in the country.

Such a move to bring stakeholders together will help tackle potential loss that could be brought by mineral companies.

According to Eyasu, the international Standard requires the disclosure of information along the extractive industry value chain, from how extraction rights are awarded to how revenues make their way through the government and how they benefit the public.

But, in the case of Ethiopia, “Something is missing at the initial stages of the mining exploration and extraction period, including issues related to Proper procedural work and community consultation,’’ said Eyasu, referring to the importance of serious transparency.

When there is lack of community involvement and information gap at the planning stage, there will be a public protest and rush to damage the properties of mining firms and poses a potential risk in attracting new investors, said the vice-chairman.

Ethiopia is a country with rich natural resources, and it belongs to its citizens, said Eyasu. “In this regard, citizens should have the right to see what their government is receiving from these resources.”

The voluntary coalition is expected to address issues of corrupt proceedings and public grievances by making them stakeholders during consultation and negotiations with firms before signing the agreement.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy has committed to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).

The initiative was launched in July 2009 involving more than 100 participants from CSOs, extractive companies, and Government Agencies.

Ethiopia's EITI objective includes ensuring revenue transparency, raising awareness about license allocation procedures, and promoting corporate social responsibility in the mining sector.

Ethiopia has a huge potential for exploration and development of a variety of minerals, while it has already identified reserves of gold, tantalum, potash, platinum, and copper.

However, the mineral potential of Ethiopia is not yet fully explored. Many studies have so far indicated occurrences and deposits of gold, tantalum, soda ash, potash, coal, nickel, and platinum in different parts of the country.