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WA premier strikes deal to develop African mining standards

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West Australian Premier Colin Barnett is striking a deal with African governments in a bid to develop the continent’s mining sector.

The plan will also see hundreds of Australian mining companies working in the region benefit from the agreement by reducing investment risks.

Visiting Africa next week, Barnett will meet leaders at a Common Market for Eastern and South Africa (COMESA) event in Zambia, a trading bloc made up of 19 member states including Egypt, Kenya, Libya and Uganda.

The memorandum of understanding between WA and COMESA outlines how WA’s mining expertise will be used to develop African mining laws, tenement systems, safety regulations and tax schemes, The Australian reports.

"Specifically, the MOU talks about the need to encourage and foster investment and the transfer of mining and petroleum-related technology between the COMESA member states and Western Australia,” a Barnett spokesperson told The Australian.

"It will allow WA to share lessons and an understanding gained through decades developing mining policy -- and, importantly, will share our lessons on fostering the associated community benefits.

"The legislation and regulation governing Western Australia's mining sector is world class, built up over more than 120 years of mining activity. Western Australia has valuable experience when it comes to building a resources industry that is both sustainable and mutually beneficial."

Originally tabled at a mining conference in Perth last year, Barnett has previously stated that cooperation will not only reduce investment risk for Australian companies operating in the region but will also bolster development initiatives in Africa.

Earlier this year Zambian mining and energy minister, Christopher Yaluma said African countries are looking at forming an alliance to standardise the very different mining policies across the continent.

Yaluma explained that it is also aimed at deterring companies from exploiting countries with rich resources.

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