Moore Stephens Team Reflects On The 25th Annual Investing In African Mining INDABA

Moore Stephens partners from across Africa and the world gathered at a bumper Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town in February. This year’s 25th anniversary Indaba was marked by more optimism than in the past few years.
“It was a lot more positive this year,” said David Tomasi, Global Sector Leader for Energy, Mining and Renewables (EMR) for Moore Stephens International.
The Investing in African Mining Indaba 2019 brought together 7,000 people, including the Presidents of South Africa and Ghana, 35 government ministers, the CEOs of global mining and exploration companies, international investors, investment banks, mining equipment companies and mining service providers.
For Moore Stephens, it was a worthwhile and invigorating few days. Apart from valuable discussions with clients and prospective clients, it was also an opportunity to meet as fellow Moore Stephens partners from across the global member firm network.
“We are building a very strong global Energy, Mining and Renewables group. Our sector meeting in Cape Town on 3 February brought together partners from Latin America, the UK, the Middle East and Africa,” said John Stanford, Global Director for Growth and Collaboration for Moore Stephens International based in London.
“We’ve identified opportunities to collaborate even further with our clients in these sectors, with an exciting programme of business development being put in place for 2019/20. We also see a meaningful opportunity to expand this collaboration to other Moore Stephens key sector groups, namely, Maritime, Manufacturing, Logistiscs, Construction and Technology.”
A sharper focus on sustainability at this year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba has started to translate into a different way of looking at mining. 
“Community sustainability had far more focus at the Mining Indaba this year. The discussion has moved on from sustainability centering mainly on the environment.  Planning from the early stages to involve key stakeholders is getting a lot more attention and companies are now appreciating the need to get it right from the get-go,” said Tomasi.
He said Moore Stephens could provide very valuable input in helping companies to invest sustainably for the long-term.
Olivier Barbeau, Managing Partner, Moore Stephens Johannesburg, said policy uncertainty had been one of the biggest barriers to growth in South African mining in recent years. While the climate was changing with a revised Mining Charter, more certainty would be welcomed.
“Policy certainty and the rule of law is critical to getting mining projects off the ground,” said Barbeau.  He also cautioned that currency fluctuations had a huge impact on international deals.
Tomasi said the Mining Indaba had acknowledged the importance of building trust through partnerships, especially in light of changes to mining charters and legislation in African countries. He called for incentives from governments to encourage mining companies and service providers to get involved in new projects and in furthering existing ones.
This year opportunities for renewable energy in the mining industry and surrounding communities are greater than ever. They range from power to heating, air conditioning and cooling, transport and associated green tech like waste-energy and water purification, says Gareth Pollit, Director for Moore Stephens Africa Advisory. 
“Energy audits and energy management are increasingly of interest to clients who are delivering against sustainability metrics,” said Pollit.  
Moore Stephens has been making inroads in the renewable energy space.  One of its projects involves advising a large mining client in West Africa in assessing potential opportunities for a much more wide-ranging use of renewable energy in its operations. Moore Stephens is engaging with the company on complementing its existing energy supply with solar power and battery storage.
Improved battery storage solutions could be applied in everything from site offices to setting up solar power hubs in mining communities, believes Pollit.
Apart from traditionally strong mineral-rich countries, Moore Stephens has also recognized investment potential in Kenya, which has thermal energy as well as minerals.
Mauritius is also becoming attractive as a gateway for investing in the African mining sector, as it offers a low tax regime and various agreements to protect investor rights.
Moore Stephens has been able to use its global credentials in the mining and logistics sectors and dovetail it with local knowledge of operations in a country, through its network of African partner firms.  It assists clients in various ways, from helping to prepare business plans and providing expertise in tax and corporate governance to finding investors and technical partners
“Times are changing. A more holistic approach is clearly wanted by the world and the Moore Stephens member firm network is aligning the services we offer to clients to support their growth beyond 2030,” said Jeff Blackbeard, Moore Stephens International Regional Director for Africa and Middle East.