Mining activities give rise to social, often violent conflicts time and time again, mainly in remote regions with little government presence and a weak economy. This results in a significant discrepancy between the wealth in the form of raw materials and the poverty and lack of prospects for the local population. The tax base gained from the mining goes into the capital city and very little flows back into the affected region.
Since 2012, ae-Centre has been helping a local NGO that supports the mediation process in a silver-mining conflict in south-eastern Morocco. The agreement signed between the parties concerned in 2015 went a long way toward calming social tensions and gave the region a multi-million-franc development fund. The latter is financed by the Moroccan government and the mining company. There are also other smaller win-win solutions, such as the founding of an association for women who make jewelry from the by-products of the silver mining.
The ae-Centre’s dialog support with regard to a conflict with a phosphate company in Gafsa Governorate is still in its early stages. In 2008, this led to serious uprisings and was considered the precursor to the Tunisian Revolution of 2011. After many months of mediation, a steering committee was successfully set up, comprising representatives of the groups concerned. It will take the lead in the continuation of the process and allows the ae-Centre to revert back to its role as a mediation supporter, thus following the principle of local ownership.
Both projects are supported by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). As a French-speaking NGO from a neutral country, the ae-Centre has a clear advantage when it comes to establishing trust.