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Opportunities for Circular Economy in Africa’s Mining Sector

During the annual meeting of the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA), KAS presented a report on Opportunities for Circular Economy in Africa’s Mining Sector. The mining sector provides a significant economic contribution to African countries, at the same time minerals and metals from the continent are needed for a transition to a low carbon economy and thus demand and markets are expected to increase significantly over the next years. It is therefore crucial to enhance opportunities for sustainable mining practices and operations

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Shifting towards Circular Economy (CE) is an opportunity for businesses and governments to create new economic opportunities, whilst providing social and environmental benefits. CE is an economic system that aims to separate economic growth and the surge of resource consumption. Material resource consumption is expected to double by 2060. However, available resources are finite. CE offers an opportunity to tap into existing materials in the system and recover value from waste to meet future demand. New economic prospects, business models, and markets are emerging through CE principles to complete the transition for businesses and governments. 

Given the economic contribution of mining to African countries, CE would significantly contribute to creating a sustainable mining industry. For countries that depend on mining as the primary economic activity, mining contributes considerably to their foreign earnings. For example, Botswana mining accounted for roughly 85% of national foreign exchange earnings, 33% of government revenue, and 25% of GDP for the past four decades.4 In many countries, mining activities contribute to Africa's economy through export and government earnings. Given the economic contribution of mining to African countries, the mining industry has a critical role to play in supporting the transition to a circular economy.

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Anja Berretta

Anja Berretta (geb

Head of the Energy Security and Climate Change in Sub-Saharan Africa programme


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