From the 4th-8th of
October 2021, multiple stakeholders convened in Bulawayo for the 10th edition
of the Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba (ZAMI). The 2021 ZAMI which ran under
the theme, “Development Speaks: Amplifying Community Voices for improved
accountability and transparency in the natural resources’ governance in
Zimbabwe,” was attended by stakeholders drawn from the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe
comprising of representatives from Government, civil society organisations,
community members, faith-based organizations (FBOs), traditional leaders; local
government leaders, trade unions, media, academia and researchers.
The ZAMI 10th edition
came at a time when Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) obligations of the
mining sector are in the spotlight. A broad range of ESG issues like the
impacts of mining on climate change, water use, labour rights, health, safety
and corporate governance have become critical in the quest to ensure natural
resource wealth delivers socio-economic justice and better outcomes for all.
Over the past 10
years, ZAMI has remained a pivotal annual advocacy and lobbying space. The
COVID-19 pandemic has made conspicuous the need for sustainable economic
systems centred on resilient economic, physical and social infrastructure.
Broad multi-stakeholder collaboration is fundamental to ensure natural
resources help us achieve sustainable development goals in Zimbabwe.
However, we note more
still needs to be done to improve natural resource governance as evidenced from
the Ward Alternative Mining Indabas (WAMIs) District Alternative Mining Indabas
(DAMIs) and Provincial Alternative Mining Indabas (PAMIs). In several mining
communities, locals face a cocktail of challenges such as:
– Lack of meaningful
consultations of communities during decision-making processes.
of transparency and accountability in the mineral sector.
-Systemic exclusion of
People With Disabilities especially in the mining sector.
-Lack of youth
involvement and participation in mineral resource governance.
Zimbabwe is a mineral
resource-rich country boasting of over 40 minerals.
With proper public
resources management, these minerals have the potential to transform the lives
of the majority of Zimbabweans by creating employment for the citizenry as well
as contributing to the fiscal purse to support socio-economic development.
We have a
responsibility to safeguard the environment, failure to do so will have
negative impacts now and in the future. Failure to safeguard the environment is
also a contravention of the Environment Management Act as well as Section 73 of
the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Everyone has a right to an environment that is
not harmful to health or well-being; and to have the environment protected for
the benefit of present and the future generations. Hence, the government must
closely monitor the operations of mining companies including ensuring that environmental
child rights are not violated.
#ZAMI 2021: Some of
the key recommendations
The Government of
Zimbabwe needs to;
sustainable extraction of resources in line with the United Nations Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) number 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 14
(Life below water), and 15 (Life on land). Mineral resources are finite, and
they must be extracted in a manner that ensures that future generations will
also benefit from these God-given resources.
o Expedite the
enactment of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill into an Act to address
transparency and accountability risks and vulnerabilities associated with the
archaic Mines and Minerals Act of 1961.
o Ensure that
the proposed Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill is hinged on transparency and
accountability along the mineral value chain. It should reflect the tenets of
Africa Mining Vision of having a, “Transparent, equitable and optimal
exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth
and socio economic development.”
o Formalise and
decriminalise the Artisanal and Small-Scale miners to optimise on their
contribution to the economy. The formalisation of the sector should be coupled
with incentives for players including People with Disabilities (PWD).
o The Ministry
of Mines needs to conduct regular trainings on safety, health and environment
issues. The knowledge acquired by artisanal and small-scale miners will go a
long way in reducing mine accidents.
In the same vein,
Government needs to set aside a fund which can be utilised in the event of a
mine disaster. This fund can be created through proceeds from the mining
into the mining contracts provisions that impose obligations on the mining
companies to respect human rights and the highest standards of environmental,
social and health protection consistent with the United Nations Guiding
Principles on Business and Human Rights. .
o Incentivize all
mining companies to be listed on either the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFX)
or Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) to enhance transparency, accountability, and
participation of locals.
o Ensure that
Zimbabwe develops a policy to guide investments in all sectors of the economy
i.e disclose contracts including adopting open contracting in the extractives
o A whistle-blower
policy should also be developed and enacted to ensure the protection of
consider the need to implement and join the Extractive Industries Transparency
Initiative (EITI) or adopt a homegrown equivalent of the standard. This is key
in promoting transparency and accountability in the management of mineral
from offering huge tax incentives in the form of tax exemptions, tax
reductions, tax refunds & rebates, and tax credits to large foreign
corporations. Most of these corporates especially, those in the mining sector
are failing to offer meaningful Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
o In the
wildlife sector, there is need to repeal the current Parks and Wildlife Act and
replace it with one aligned with the constitution.
provisions to compensate communities that have dealt with the trauma of loss
related to Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC). The intention should be reflected in
the Wildlife policy.
Effectively consult communities as they work on the various policy
changes in the wildlife sector and or any other sectors.
-Formulate a gemstone
policy to guide the producers and investors in the gemstone industry.
-Establish a Gemology
Centre in Mashonaland West given that most of the gemstones are produced in
Mashonaland West Province.
-Support women to
actively participate in the cutting and polishing of gemstones mined in Zimbabwe.
This will create more jobs and wealth for the country.
and CSOs need to work together to address the challenges faced by women miners
in the gemstone and other sectors.
-Government needs to
decriminalize the trading of gemstones so that precious stones are traded
through the formal market. This in turn will curb the smuggling and
leakages of gemstones.
-In the climate change
front, Civil Society Organisations should work closely with the Government in
pushing for the development of a climate change law including ensuring that
communities are conscientized on how to effectively participate in the
development of such laws.