The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-sector arm of the World Bank group, plans to invest $300-million in mining companies operating in Africa over the next three years to support growth in the sector.
The IFC believes that this will be an immense uplifting investment as the mining industry is a significant source of employment, revenue and skills transfer for countries across the continent.
In 2010, the IFC’s portfolio of mining clients helped spur eco- nomic growth throughout the developing world by providing over 50 000 jobs and paying over $1-billion in government revenues. It also spent over $3-billion on local goods and services, and invested over $150-million in community development programmes.
IFC infrastructure and natural resources in African and Latin America senior manager Andrew Gunther says that mining is a critically important, yet challenging, sector, and that the IFC has a role to play in supporting responsible companies that will provide employment, related infrastructure and government revenues to Africa.
The corporation offers mining clients in developing countries a broad range of financial and advisory services throughout the mining life cycle and, in Africa, the IFC will increase the amount of seed financing it provides to exploration-stage companies through its early equity mining programme.
Further, the IFC is looking to support midtier mining companies by participating in project and corporate financing partnerships that will buoy mining development and expansion. It will continue to work with mining majors to develop large projects with the potential to transform regional economies.
It is also expanding its work in advisory services that focus on the mining sector. The IFC provides supply chain capacity building for small and medium-sized enterprises, and new programmes that aim to help the industry to use resources more efficiently with less impact on the environment.
IFC Advisory Services will also support community engagement so that local communities benefit more from mining.
The IFC’s global mining portfolio spans 37 countries, of which 17 are in Africa, and totals $400-million. Its recent mining investments in Africa include gold miners Gryphon Minerals and Volta Resources, in Burkina Faso; gold miner Helio Resource and Petra Diamonds, in Tanzania; mineral exploration and development company Nyota Minerals, in Ethiopia; and diamond and precious metals explorer Tsodilo Resources, in Botswana.