Declaration of the 2024 Mutoko District Alternative Mining Indaba


Energy Transition Minerals: Putting Communities First for an Inclusive Feminist Future

We, the more than 45 participants comprising  mining communities, faith-based organisations, government officials, civil society organisations, mining sector stakeholders, and traditional leaders, gathered at here Nyamakwere Lodge, Mutoko on 20 March 2024 for a District Alternative Mining Indaba:

Noting the need for community involvement in natural resource governance,

Advocating for comprehensive legislative reforms to foster community involvement, gender sensitivity, and benefit sharing,

Disheartened by the continued lack of accountability and disregard of human rights by mining companies in their operations, and the failure by relevant stakeholders to hold these companies to account,

Concerned by the unjust treatment of women in mining and women affected by mining in the communities,

Worried by the use of an outdated legislative framework to govern mineral extraction in Zimbabwe,

Recommend the following:

Community Involvement and transparency

We call upon relevant stakeholders to prioritize community involvement and meaningful participation of communities in mineral resource governance issues. Mining tax justice issues must be widely disseminated, made transparent and simplified for ease of understanding by the communities. We also call for the establishment of a dedicated committee comprising representatives from the Mutoko community, local government, mining companies, and other relevant stakeholders. This committee will serve as a platform for ongoing dialogue and collaboration to address community concerns and promote sustainable mining practices in Mutoko. Youth participation at all stages of the mining process must also be prioritised to ensure their representation from decision-making to implementation. We demand collaboration between communities and local authorities to enhance the effectiveness of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) as a prerequisite for mining activities to ensure that these assessments are conducted transparently, with input from the community, and consider the long-term environmental and social impacts of mining operations.

Enhanced community knowledge

We call upon development partners to invest in community capacity-building programs for residents to actively participate in decision-making processes related to mining activities. Civil society and community based organisations should train communities on their legal rights, environmental protection, negotiation skills, and sustainable business practices to equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to engage effectively with mining companies and government agencies.

Legal and Policy Reforms

We call upon the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Minerals Development; independent Commissions; and civil society organisations working on resource governance to collaborate with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to prioritize the amendment of the Mines and Minerals Act which dates back to 1957 but is still the parent legislation on mineral related natural resource governance in Zimbabwe. This also entails meaningful participation of women, and other marginalized groups of society legal reform processes. Thus, we call for improved information sharing pertaining to the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill consultations. We urge communities to hold local authorities and governments accountable for natural resource governance through following set regulations, monitoring mechanisms, and reporting frameworks to ensure transparency and accountability in decision-making processes and enforce compliance with regulatory standards to protect and prevent exploitation of community interests.

Economic Empowerment

We call upon the Ministry of Youth, to support young people in skills training to ensure that they can be considered for work in mining companies. We encourage young people and women to acquire the necessary skills to be employed in the mining companies. In turn, we encourage successful women in mining to showcase their talent at local and international trade fairs for more women to participate in mining and mining associations to realize results of their work by training on the actual extraction of minerals. We urge mining companies to provide opportunities for youth employment and skills development.

Accountability and community development

We call upon district and community leaders to assist communities in holding mining companies to account. This should be a collective responsibility where community monitors should be the watchdogs on issues of accountability. Mutoko Rural District Council must mandate mining companies to develop dust-free roads in Mutoko and adhere to quality standards that are acceptable communities as all infrastructure should be designed with the broader community in mind, and not solely to accommodate mining operations. We also call upon mining companies operating in Mutoko to adopt robust Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices.

Child Labour and exploitation in the mining sector

We call upon the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Ministry of health and childcare, Ministry of labour, legal aid societies, CBOs and human rights advocacy groups to investigate issues of child labour and exploitation in the mining sector, especially in informal set ups, and the ramped need to raise awareness on child labour.

Going forward:

We view this District Indaba as a beginning, a commitment to turn these and many other recommendations into actions. We yearn for a future where communities benefit from the extraction of local mineral resources. Thus, we are resolute in our calls for inclusion in decision making platforms the respect of human rights in mineral resource extraction in Zimbabwe.   

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.