On 24 June 2015, ENDA Lead Afrique Programme, the Open Society Initiative for West Africa and the Canadian Embassy in Senegal hosted a National Workshop relating to the Senegalese mining sector in general; and the new draft Mining Code in particular. Significantly, the draft Mining Code is introducing the first changes to mining regulation in Senegal in 10 years.

The Workshop was well attended by civil society organizations, governmental officials, representatives of decentralized entities and, in particular, by the Network of Members of Parliament (MPs) for the Governance of Mining Resources.

The overarching objective of the Workshop was to raise the awareness of the MPs on governance of mining resources, with the view to help them better understand development challenges facing the sector, as well as to improve local communities’ participation in the management of the mining resources and revenues.

In this context, GENI & KEBE Partner, Dr Aboubacar Fall provided guidance with respect to best practices for a mining legal framework.  He presented the International Bar Association’s Mining Model Development Agreement (MMDA).   “The MMDA is a synthesis of the international  best contractual practices which address  issues relating to local communities’ development as well as sets out general governance principles  in terms of resource and revenue management,” explained Dr Fall.

Dr Fall highlighted the importance of the MMDA as a model that should inspire lawmakers when drafting laws and national teams when negotiating concession mining agreements.   The attention of the MPs and the civil society representatives was drawn to the necessity of including a strong local content component (training, procurement etc.) in mining contracts, in addition to the voluntary corporate social responsibility undertakings agreed with mining companies.

The final recommendations of the workshop reflected these ideas exposed in Dr Fall’s presentation, including:
(i) the importance for the government to include local content clauses in the contracts
(ii) the necessity for local communities to get effectively involved in the process of managing the mining resources and revenues .

Indeed, the social license is key for the success of any long term exploitation concession. It is the paramount condition for a win-win situation for both the mining company and the local communities.