Should Zimbabwean Mining Companies join the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), Community Based Organisations ask?


Compiled by Josphat Makaza (Chiadzwa Community Development Trust)

01 July 2021

The Zimbabwean Government was amongst the participants at the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) held in 2019 in Paris, France. Nearly two years after the convention the government is still struggling and is yet to decide whether to join EITI or not. EITI is an international standard that encourages transparency around the management of revenues from natural resources and meant to improve transparency and accountability. At a recently held conference in Mutare community-based organisations said the failure to domesticate EITI by the government must not be an end to transparency and accountability drive in Zimbabwe. Organised by ZELA and facilitated by Fadzai Midzi the participants at the conference called upon the government to find other means of increasing transparency.

Zimbabwe is working towards Vision 2030 and the 12 billion Mining Industry roadmap hence community-based organisations (CBOs) in Mutare feel that the initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is the way to go if the Vision 2030 agenda is to become a dream came true for everyone, especially communities. Founded in 2006 by a coalition of nongovernmental organizations, businesses purchasing minerals and metals, affected communities, mining companies and labour unions the IRMA seeks to promote responsible mining. Save Odzi Network Trust (SOCNET) Chairperson Mr Zacheu Nhachi said the framework aligns with what serious governments, investors and communities require. “There are a number of benefits associated with IRMA, that CBOs can benefit from”, he said. Nhachi explained that the concept promotes access to information and public participation in the extractive sector.

 An official from Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT) said IRMA reduces resource conflict. “If the community understands how local resources are governed then there is no misunderstanding”, he said, adding that there will be trust amongst all stakeholders.   CCDT said the government must welcome this initiative to improve mineral resources governance in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Workers Union (ZIDAWU) President Cosmas Sunguro said the government needs to consider participation of mining companies against IRMAs four principles.” The standard for social responsibility, environmental responsibility, business integrity and planning for positive legacies”. This he said promotes transparency and accountability in the sector whilst improving revenue collection for improved service delivery in Zimbabwe. Malvern Mudiwa of Marange Development Trust (MDT) explained that if we can debate and dialogue with all stakeholders, we will be empowered, and this helps improve CBOs’ advocacy work. Addressing participants Fadzai Midzi highlighted on the benefits of volunteering to be audited against the IRMA standard and being part of the Responsible Mining Map giving examples from the recently Unki IRMA audit report that was released in February 2021 and had since improved the operations and performance of the giant Anglo-American Platinum Mine in Zimbabwe and outside the region.

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