Good governance of mineral resources is critical for sustainable development in Africa. This message is being reinforced in Johannesburg this week at the Regional Technical Workshop on UNFC with a focus on uranium resources. The United Nations Framework Classification for Fossil Energy and Mineral Reserves and Resources 2009 (UNFC), with its unique applicability to all extractive activities, including, coal, uranium, oil and gas, has been highlighted as the system that can assist African countries in developing and managing their resources.
Africa is a resource-rich continent and much of its current economic and social development is founded on exploitation of energy and mineral resources. Other countries of the world, in particular in Europe and Asia, depend on Africa’s mineral endowments. Sustainable development is not possible without sustainable energy and effective management of these resources.
Participating at the Workshop, Alex Nwegbu, Director General of the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, noted: “It is imperative that African countries adopt a reporting standard that will properly evaluate and capture the full wealth of their resources. Nigeria is fully committed to implementing UNFC and to assuming a leadership role in facilitating the adoption of UNFC by other African countries.”
The Regional Workshop on Application of UNFC to Uranium Resources is organized as part of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) project to support sustainable development of uranium resources in the African region, which represent 20% of identified world resources. The region currently contributes nearly 20% of annual global uranium production – a share that is expected to rise to 40-50% by 2050 – but a vast majority of the resources, especially those associated with ‘unconventional resources’ such as phosphates and lignite, are underdeveloped. Many areas of the region are unexplored, but there are more than 400 uranium projects reported to be active in some 30 countries. This level of investment in the region will result in large growth in new resources reported and new uranium mines will come into production rapidly. This level of activity will also put significant pressure on national administrative and operational capabilities, which can be overwhelmed if not adequately planned and managed.
Harikrishnan Tulsidas, Nuclear Technology Specialist, IAEA observed: “IAEA Member States recognize that to ensure balanced development of uranium resources in Africa will require the application of good practices in the uranium production cycle – from exploration to closure and remediation. UNFC is a tool that can ensure the necessary good governance.”
Organized jointly by UNECE and the International Atomic Energy Agency in cooperation with the Geoscience Council of South Africa, the Workshop is attended by Government representatives from Algeria, Chad, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia and Uganda. The event runs from 10–14 November in Johannesburg, South Africa.
For more information on UNFC and/or the Expert Group on Resource Classification, please visit: http://www.unece.org/energy/se/reserves.html and/or contact Charlotte Griffiths, UNECE Sustainable Energy Division (email@example.com / tel: +41 (0)22 917 1988).