The main objective of this brief report is to present the lessons learned and the main findings from six case studies of large scale mining operations in four African countries. The case studies have been presented in three separate reports by the Chr. Michelsen Institute:

  • Policy and Management for Benefits from Mining. Two Case Studies: BCL in Botswana and Ongopolo in Namibia (unpublished) (Isaksen and Okatch, 2004)
  • Socio-economic Effects of Gold Mining in Mali. A Study of the Sadiola and Morila Mining Operations (Jul-Larsen et al., 2006).
  • Benefit streams from mining in Tanzania: Case studies from Geita and Mererani (Lange, 2006).

The reports were commissioned by the World Bank under the Building Capacity in Governance and Benefit Streams Management (BCGBSM) project, and financed by the Norwegian trust funds. The reports are part of a larger initiative by the World Bank to build capacity in governance and benefit streams management in selected African and Asian countries.

The main aim of the present report is to provide more detailed information on the challenges encountered during fieldwork and writing than the published reports do. The ToR for this report also asks for a presentation of the "ownership" of the research, and the dissemination and use of the outputs of the three studies. Due to the confidential character of some of the information in this report, it will have strictly limited distribution.

The most important methodological lesson learned from the four case studies is the importance of having local partners that are reputable, well established, and well functioning.

All research teams experienced that having introductory letters from the World Bank was very important for access to the mines and to government institutions. Despite the introduction letters however, the research teams in Mali and Tanzania did not get the information that they asked for (i.e salaries, taxes paid by the workforce etc).

A central factor for successful local dissemination of the research is to have local researchers who are personally engaged in the topic as part of the team. Such researchers would have a natural sense of ownership, and could have arranged workshops after the international researchers had left.