The impact of COVID-19 on the extractives sector: Amplifying
community voices in fighting inequality and mining related injustices
On the 21st of August 2020, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association(ZELA), Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development(ZIMCODD) and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches(ZCC) brought together more 50 participants comprising of local traditional leaders, development coordinators, faith leaders, community members, civil society organisations and journalists drawn from the Midlands Province who gathered for the 2020 Great Dyke Provincial Alternative Mining Indaba.
the country’s diverse mineral resource base and recognising the need to entrench,
good, transparent and accountable governance of natural resources;
Mindful of the significance of ensuring that citizens are mobilized and empowered to actively participate in the formulation and implementation of policies that enable transformative and sustainable socio-economic development hinged on mineral wealth exploitation;
However, troubled by the growing levels of inequality in resource rich communities. Zimbabwe’s mining sector is plagued by corruption, lack of transparency, as well as limited access to information and public participation in decision making processes. As a result, revenue from minerals resources (diamonds, gold and platinum among others) has so far failed to meaningfully benefit the country and communities.
Saddened by the impact of COVID-19 which has gravely disrupted the whole mining supply chain, affected economies, the social fabric, and stretched service delivery capacities. We are dismayed by some of the mining sector players’ failure to fully contribute towards economic development and improved service delivery.
Traumatised by machete wielding gangs who over the years have become a marauding menace. However, we appreciate the concerted efforts by the Zimbabwe Republic Police to stamp against these bands although we are disheartened to note that the ZRP’s intensified operation code named ‘Chikorokoza Ngachipere’ is also targeting artisanal miners. The machete wielding gangs must not be mistaken for artisanal miners who have resorted to artisanal mining for livelihood purposes. The sector is employing a significant number of people affected by massive unemployment and climatic shocks.
Disheartened by the operations of the Chinese mining companies particularly those in the chrome mining sector’s failure to abide by the environmental laws and regulations. After operating some of these companies abandon the shafts without reclaiming them. These shafts are now posing danger to both humans and livestock.
It is our belief that all stakeholders should be involved in the management of natural resources and the management of revenue for development. The local community must be consulted, while their needs and aspirations must be considered.
the country’s vast mineral resource endowments, if judiciously exploited they
can lead to inclusive and sustainable socio-economic growth, poverty
alleviation, reduction of inequalities and dignity of life through
transformative industrialization and job creation.
We the 2020 Great Dyke PAMI participants recommend as follows:
Stakeholders must undertake a needs assessment
with respect to locals’ needs a progressive measure in empowering them to
demand for better transparency and accountability in mineral resource
To ensure a fair share of revenue
to the local authority there is a need of alignment of legislation.
Partnerships are also required between local authorities and mining
companies to improve on the general quality of life for people within the
of the ASM sector is long overdue. It will ensure curbing of gold leakages
and increased deliverables to Fidelity Printers and Refiners. The ASM sector
should be looked at as equal contributor in the mining sector rather than
Government and local authorities
should make efforts to promote public disclosure of the ownership structure of
mining companies operating in the country as a way of promoting transparency
and accountability. Local authorities on the other hand should publicly
disclose the revenues and payments they receive from mining companies as a way
of promoting public accountability and transparency as contemplated by the
themining companies should carry out full Environmental Impact
Assessments (EIAs) and comply with their commitments. The mining companies must
comply with environmental management plans, including mine closure plans and
post closure plans as required by the Environmental Management Act;
The reform of the
archaic Mines and Minerals Act is needed. It is fundamental for the reform
process to embrace artisanal mining in line with the aspirations of the Africa
Mining Vision (AMV) and decriminalizing a livelihood for millions of Africans;
coronavirus has disproportionately increased the rate of children involved in
artisanal gold mining activities. Therefore, there is need for stakeholders to
ensure that the opening of schools after the lockdowns is accompanied by
nationwide reintegration campaigns to prevent children from dropping out of
Mining companies should be closely
monitored for compliance with labour, environment, worker safety and health
laws and standards.