February 9, 2015 – The World Bank can play a critical role in facilitating transparent and meaningful talks between mining companies, electricity producers and governments in Africa about ways to work together to bring energy to millions of people in the region, panelists at a global mining event said on Monday.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, where only one in three people have electricity, reversing that reality can help reduce poverty, and get people access to education, health care and other basic necessities, which in turn can lead to strong economic growth.
“What we see here is a role for the World Bank,” said Mark Bristow, CEO of Randgold Resources at the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town.
“The industry and the governments pass each other in the night every day and somehow we have to stop and have a conversation.”
He also said mining investments would not work without lower-cost reliable power.
Mining executives and representatives from utilities and governments are gathered this week at the conference, where the World Bank Group launched its report entitled “The Power of the Mine: A Transformative Opportunity for Sub-Saharan Africa.”
The report estimates that demand for electricity from the mining industry in Sub-Saharan Africa could reach over 23,000 megawatts by 2020, about three times the level it was in 2000. To satisfy that demand, mining companies are expected to spend $3.3 billion between 2012 and 2020, spending most of it on private sources of power supply.