workers from quarry in St Elizabeth, Jamaica no 2

OACPS-EU Development Minerals Programme

The OACPS-EU Development Minerals Programme is a three-year, €13.1 million capacity building program that aims to build the profile, and improve the management, of Development Minerals (industrial minerals; construction materials; dimension stones; and semi-precious stones). The program is an initiative of the OACPS (Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States), financed by the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and implemented by UNDP.

The mining of Development Minerals has important implications for sustainable development, however, they have to date received inadequate attention for their potential to impact livelihoods; and few development programmes have provided support for this mining sector. Development Minerals are minerals and materials that have a high degree of economic linkage and utilisation close to the location where the commodity is mined. Often referred to as Low Value Minerals and Materials (LVMM) due to their low price as a function of their weight, and their relatively low value to international commodity markets, Development Minerals provide crucial inputs for domestic economic development (infrastructure, manufacturing, construction and agriculture to name a few) and have the potential to be high value in terms of national development.

In comparison to the metals sector, Development Minerals have closer links with the local economy, and have the potential to generate more local jobs, with a greater impact on poverty reduction. This is partly because the sector is dominated by small and medium scale domestic businesses. However, there are a number of environmental, social and economic challenges confronting the sector. Development Minerals commonly operate in an uncertain legal and regulatory environment, with a lack of publicly available and easily accessible geological data, which exacerbates wasteful exploration and discourages investment in the sector. The oversight of environmental, social, health and safety issues is often inadequate, and weak or often non-existent technical extension services such as skills training, capacity building, access to technology, finance, appropriate equipment, investment information and markets, has contributed to the sector’s neglect. 

Project Objectives And Key Activities

The OACPS-EU Development Minerals Programme is implemented at both the regional and country levels.

At the regional level, the programme conducts capacity building activities with participants from forty ACP countries through regional training workshops, field trips, the production of guidance products and knowledge exchange. The programme will also host a final conference to enhance the knowledge sharing activities conducted during the programme. Participants of our regional training workshops implement the skills and knowledge that they have gained from the training through return to work plans.  

At the country level, in depth capacity building is undertaken with six focus countries: Cameroon (Central Africa); Guinea - Conakry (West Africa); Uganda (East Africa); Zambia (Southern Africa); Jamaica (Caribbean); and Fiji (Pacific). Country-level activities include: training; small grants; the production of maps and databases; development of regulations on environment, health and safety; organization of community dialogues, technology fairs and networking events.

Training and support is provided in the following thematic areas of importance to the sector: 1) mine and quarry management; 2) environment, health and safety; 3) entrepreneurship skills; 4) market analysis and investment promotion; 5) geo-data and maps design; 6) community relations and addressing grievances.

The programme supports a range of key stakeholders in the sector, including public stakeholders such as regulatory agencies and local governments; private stakeholders such as small-scale mining enterprises, intermediaries, transportation and logistics service providers, construction companies; business development stakeholders such as mining and quarrying associations, chambers of mines, training centres, universities, consulting companies; and social stakeholders such as civil society organizations and community groups.

The aim of the capacity building activities is to: 1) increase the sector’s productivity; 2) better manage mining operations; 3) adhere to national and international environmental and health standards; 4) prevent conflict through effective community relations.

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