Mineral resource nationalism in Africa set to rise, finds report

A new report by global consultancy Verisk Maplecroft has found that resource nationalism is set to increase across African mining jurisdictions in the near future.

Verisk’s latest Resource Nationalism Index (RNI) had four African states in the top 10 highest risk countries, with Tanzania ranked second, eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) and the DRC in fifth and sixth respectively, and Zimbabwe in eighth position.

The RNI serves as an objective barometer of current and future expropriation risks in the mining sector, with the latest release drawing on data from the third quarter of 2019.

Tanzania has been the biggest mover in the RNI during the last three years, dropping from ‘medium’ to ‘extreme’ risk after the government took a hard line towards the mining sector and grappled with gold producer Acacia Mining over alleged tax underpayments.

“Tanzania’s trajectory is most astounding, dropping two risk categories during that period. Upon coming to power in October 2015, President Magufuli adopted a populist line on the mining sector, introducing an export ban on unprocessed copper and gold,” the firm said.

Meanwhile, the Central African Copperbelt – encompassing Northern Zambia and Southern DRC – also retain a high risk of resource nationalism. West Africa is relatively benign, Verisk noted.