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It is an unfortunate reality that humans lean towards crisis management. Only after the crisis arrives do we ask why it was not prevented. This pattern is common in Africa. In Ghana, Sierra Leone, and elsewhere on the continent, any number of large-scale mining, commercial agriculture or infrastructure projects have all but ground to a halt, due almost entirely to probably preventable conflict between governments, companies, labour and communities. This is a story familiar to SA, too: there are numerous conflicts between communities and mining companies. In April, GroundUp reported on conflict between Kumba Iron Ore and members of the Dingleton community in the Northern Cape. Kumba wanted to relocate residents of Dingleton to a town nearly 30km away, but 25 families did not wish to move. The dispute was costly and unpleasant for all. Attorney Richard Spoor, representing the Dingleton residents, said mediation might assist the parties in interpreting the International Finance Corpora...

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