THE government should renegotiate mining contracts to enable legislators and other arms of government to fully exercise their role in the mining sector, stakeholders said last week.
Report by Sophia Mapuranga
In a petition to government after the inaugural Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba (Zami) in Harare last week, stakeholders declared that mining areas must be accessible to legislators and interested parties without exceptions.
The stakeholders included community-based organisations, traditional leaders, churches, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), legislators, youth groups and activists.
“Having deliberated for the last three days, we specifically demand that the Zimbabwean government immediately implements the revised national Mines and Minerals Act, the Sadc Mining Protocol and the African Mining Vision (AMV) policies, laws and strategies, taking into account recommendations in the AMV’s Action Plan.” reads part of the petition.
The Sadc protocol urges member states to recognise that a thriving mining sector can contribute to economic development, alleviation of poverty and the improvement of the quality of life throughout the region.
“Member States shall promote sustainable development by ensuring that a balance between mineral development and environmental protection is attained,” said the protocol.
The AMV is a developmental mining approach that insists that the road to growth is through building economic and social linkages that benefit Africa itself.
Last week’s meeting was organised by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), Zimbabwe Council of Churches and Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT).
MDC-T MP for Mutare West, Shuah Mudiwa said it was expected that the economy would improve with the discovery of mineral wealth in the country.
“Those who negotiate our mining contracts are weak… and the extraction of mineral wealth is failing to impact on the economic performance of the country,” Mudiwa said. “No one knows how many companies are mining in Chiadzwa and who they account to. Discussing for example diamonds in Parliament evokes a lot of emotions because there are some of us who get mad.”
Four companies — Mbada, Anjin, Diamond Mining Corporation and Marange Resources — are mining in Marange but their operations remain clouded in secrecy.
The Zami ran concurrently with the government organised Zimbabwe Mining Indaba 2012 also held in Harare.