Skip to Main Content
Mine site

IGF Releases Mining Policy Framework Assessment: Senegal

April 19, 2017

The Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) is pleased to present its assessment of Senegal’s mining policies.

Mining is an important—and growing—pillar of Senegal’s economy, and is expected to play a significant role in the country’s continued social and economic development. Rich deposits of gold, phosphate, heavy minerals, construction materials and iron ore provide a strong foundation for both existing and potential projects across the country.

While the sector contributes just over 4 per cent to the national economy and generates only 1 per cent of national employment, it is responsible for nearly 20 per cent of exports and is an important source of foreign direct investment. Mining is a key focus of the national development plan (the Plan Sénégal Émergent). The government hopes to significantly expand production, create jobs, and attract foreign investment through the implementation of a series of pilot projects and continued growth in minerals demand.

To ensure effective management of the country’s mineral wealth, strides have been made in recent years to strengthen governance in the sector. In 2013, Senegal became a candidate country for the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI). It hopes to soon become fully compliant with EITI requirements following the submission of its latest report in late 2016. In addition, the government launched a major review and revision of its mining laws and policies in 2016.

To contribute to this revision of mining laws and policies, the Ministry of Industry and Mines requested that the IGF conduct an assessment of its existing laws and policies for the mining sector. Using the IGF’s Mining Policy Framework (MPF) as a guide, the assessment involved extensive desk-based research and a 10-day field visit to Senegal, during which the project team met with a broad array of stakeholders from government, civil society, international organizations and the private sector. From this research, the assessment team was able to identify key strengths and gaps in the existing legislation across all six of the MPF’s thematic areas.

“We were excited to work with the Government of Senegal on this MPF assessment,” noted team lead Alec Crawford. “These assessments give the Forum the opportunity to support our members, while helping them ensure that they have laws and policies in place to support mining’s contribution to sustainable development.

“Senegal was already well placed in this respect—the laws that are currently in place provide a strong foundation for mining to help underpin the country’s continued development progress,” Crawford added. “The willingness of the government to further improve upon these already solid laws and policies is very encouraging.”

Our assessment team found that the country’s existing laws and policies provide a strong foundation for mining to help underpin the country’s continued development progress, including: a clear and transparent permitting process, a competitive mix of revenue-generating mechanisms, significant capacities to negotiate mining agreements, mine closure planning that requires financial assurances, and good progress on developing ways of addressing informal artisanal and small-scale mining.

The IGF will continue to work with the Government of Senegal, through capacity building and technical support, to support their continued efforts at strengthening governance for the Senegalese mining sector. While great progress has been made on this front, significant challenges remain. The focus of IGF support for Senegal in 2017 will be on socioeconomic benefit optimization, mine closure, environmental management, and artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM).

“Artisanal and small-scale mining is a significant challenge for Senegal in social, environmental and economic terms,” said Crawford. “The government is actively trying to address this challenge, through a mix of innovative programs like ASM zones, purchasing counters and authorization cards for miners. The IGF is now looking for ways to support these efforts, to ensure that ASM becomes a vital, safe and formal part of the Senegalese economy.”

This MPF assessment was made possible by the continued support of the Government of Canada. In 2017, assessments are underway for Mauritania and Rwanda, and a third is planned for Burkina Faso. The IGF Mining Policy Framework Assessment: Senegal was published in French and English.

The IGF supports nearly 60 nations committed to leveraging mining for sustainable development to ensure that negative impacts are limited and financial benefits are shared. It is devoted to optimizing the benefits of mining to achieve poverty reduction, inclusive growth, social development and environmental stewardship.

Secretariat duties are performed by the International Institute for Sustainable Development. Secretariat funding is provided by the Government of Canada.