Advocacy worshop in Kedougou-2005 Source: personnel Archives

As many African countries, Senegalese Government adopted an attractive mining code in 2003 to bring foreign investments. Even the bill had a provision for Corporate Social Responsibility, its implementation was undermined by unavailability off the decrees. We were fighting since 2005 for disclosure and enforcement of this law.

Now it is done, at the end of the year, the President signed them under the n° 2009-1335 and the n° 2009-1334, November 30th 2009 decrees.

The Fund for the Rehabilitation of degraded mining sites

The first text follows from the  «  Polluter Pays» principle worldwide admitted and which calls for the Environmental Responsibility. By this way the Government could be able to collect financial resources for the restoration of the degraded sites after mining operations.

The Equalization Fund for Local Authorities

As for the second decree, it’s calling for Social Responsibility. By this, local communities which are overwhelming by negative impacts of mining will henceforth receive direct financial resources from mining revenues.

The narrow scope of the decrees

However we applaud this step forward, these decrees fail to take into account major principles that CSO were fighting for, as CSO: Participation and citizenship control of public actions.

Indeed, neither Local Authorities nor CSO which were in front of this struggle are involved in the management and the monitoring of these strategic funds. What is in our views an open door for possible mismanagement and deals between Mineral Deposit Limited-MDL (an Australian enterprise which operates in Sabodala gold mine) and the Government. The decree states that the fund: « is jointly managed by the permit owner and the representatives of the Ministries in charge of mining and of the Environment… »

In addition, the mechanism of management of these funds is for us, a setback of Decentralization Process, because of:

  • The denied Right of participation in the management of the Environmental Fund ;
  • The denied Right of free use of their financial resources gained from mining revenues (facilities purchase only).

We are therefore facing big challenges in terms of implementation and monitoring of these new decrees by both the Government and Mineral deposit Limited (MDL).

Finally, we urge MDL, the first mining company which have an exploitation permit in Kedougou mining area to set an example and to abide by the mining code.

Aly Sagne, LSD, Senegal, PoBox: 279 – Escale Fatick.