Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The paradox of plenty: BGS helps poor countries to manage the impact of minerals and hydrocarbons extraction...by Andrew Bloodworth

Small-scale mining of tantalum
An abundance of natural resources can represent both an opportunity and a threat to poor countries. Although the wealth released from minerals, oil and gas should present a path to prosperity, the reality is that many developing countries struggle to manage the impacts of minerals and/or hydrocarbons extraction on their economy, environment and society.

Attended by civil servants, regulators and civil society groups from 7 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, an intensive ‘Extractives Executive Course’ addressing these issues was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia earlier this year. The course was organised and funded by UK Department for International Development through their ‘iFuse’ programme. BGS played a prominent role in delivering the course content.

Bob Gatliff and Andrew Bloodworth presented, discussed and debated a variety of topics relating to hydrocarbons and minerals exploration, permitting and management with a lively audience.  Colleagues from other UK public bodies including the Coal Authority, OS, Health and Safety Laboratories and the FCO were  responsible for delivering complimentary elements of the course covering a range of issues including spatial infrastructure, health and safety, environmental legacy and human rights.

Gold mine, Namibia 
Despite a packed schedule and ineffective air-conditioning, both delegates and trainers found the experience very informative. We developed some excellent new contacts amongst our African colleagues which we hope will lead to further funded work on a range of topics. It was also a great opportunity to strengthen person to person links with other UK public-sector organisations.


For more information contact:

Andrew Bloodworth (ajbl@bgs.ac.uk) or
Bob Gatliff (rwga@bgs.ac.uk)

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