Cabinet Audit into Responsible Mining: Welcome


16 June 2023

Story By Josphat MakazaChiadzwa

Amid widespread calls from civil society groups and communities living near mines for greater corporate transparency and respect for national laws governing the extractive industry, the government finally agreed on auditing responsible mining. In 2022, at the Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba, communities were loudest: “There is a need for increased government support, especially in monitoring environmental compliance by mining companies.” The communities from Marange echoed the same sentiments, saying that companies have belatedly undertaken environmental impact assessments and are failing to implement the commitments they made in the EIAs, such as taking measures to recycle water and curb pollution.

According to the Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT), diamond mining has been causing environmental degradation and violating the environmental, economic, social, and cultural rights of communities, but little action has been taken to ensure mined sites are turned into new land uses. The community-based organization has been calling for the domestication of both international and regional frameworks with the aim of reducing potential harm and improving mineral resource governance in Zimbabwe.

CCDT said the government, through the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company, should conduct a self-assessment test under the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) so as to promote access to information and public participation in the extractive sector. Recently, the cabinet okayed the country-wide responsible mining audit for the period of two months, May and June. According to the government, the audit is meant to ensure that all mining operations are conducted in accordance with the country’s laws. This is what the communities, civil society groups, and other stakeholders impacted by extractives have been longing for.

Communities view the mining sector as crucial to the country’s economic growth; and they believe the audit will ensure mining companies continue to exist as legal entities with clearly defined duties. An official from the local council said they do not understand if the state has negotiated contracts that benefit the nation or the mining company. The move, he said, will also offer an opportunity for renewed efforts to promote the disclosure of information held by the central government and mining companies to local authorities. “We want to know the funds these companies are investing, what they are producing, the revenues being realized, and also how they are distributed”, he said. The official also said the audit results should be published in news papers to enhance transparency and correct the current confusion that exists in communities.

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