Towards an inclusive and equitable US$12 billion mining industry anchored on sustainable mineral resource management


From the 30th of September to the 2nd of October 2020, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) and Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) will co-host the 9th edition of the Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba (ZAMI). The Indaba which will run under the theme, Towards an inclusive and equitable US$12 billion mining industry anchored on sustainable mineral resource management will provide a platform for dialogue amongst various stakeholders in the mining sector inter alia people from mining host communities, Parliamentarians, government ministries, development partners, mining companies, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), civil society organisations and faith-based organisations to deliberate on mining related issues in Zimbabwe. The main objective of ZAMI is to influence just and responsible mining to achieve sustainable development.

ZAMI is part of the initiatives of the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) platforms that have been facilitated by various organisations across the globe.  At the local level, ZAMI is a build-up event from the Ward Alternative Mining Indabas, Constituency Alternative Indabas, District Alternative Mining Indabas (DAMIs) and Provincial Alternative Mining Indabas (PAMIs) held in different parts of the country.

The ongoing reforms and transformation in the mining sector in Zimbabwe is largely attributed to these platforms where mining host communities continue to demand for greater transparency and accountability from duty bearers to ensure responsible and sustainable mining.

The 9th edition of ZAMI comes against the backdrop of the implementing partners having mapped an Advocacy Strategy for the Extractive Sector, wherein community participation is placed at the centre of mineral resource governance.  The ZAMI will be informed by key issues and demands which came out of the DAMIs and PAMIs held and these include but not limited to;

  • Investors must ensure they fully engage locals through free, prior and informed consent which promotes the right of indigenous communities to participate in any developmental initiatives in their area and ensuring that communities displaced to pave way for mining operations must be fully compensated;
  • Mining investors must ensure that they shoulder the responsibility of guaranteeing the safety of their employees and surrounding communities. This is one of several progressive ways to compensate the mining-affected communities for loss of their land, livelihoods and the destructive environmental impacts of mining;
  • There is need to bridge the mining induced inequality gap to ensure that mineral revenue is equitably distributed;
  • Ensuring that the Mines and Minerals Bill captures the issue of artisanal miners and lobby that it be adequately addressed.

Despite being endowed with vast mineral resources ranging from the most precious stones and metals including platinum, diamond and gold, Zimbabwe is one of the most poverty-stricken countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Africa at large. The majority of citizens are wallowing in abject poverty and social and economic deprivation. This is quite evident in mining host communities which are not deriving any meaningful benefits from the resources extracted in their areas. Instead of realizing social and economic justice from mining activities in their areas, mining host communities are left with ecological debt, entrenched poverty and inequalities in various forms.

Against this background, the Government of Zimbabwe is envisioning an ambitious US$12 Billion Mining Industry by 2023 hinged on a number of deliverables including but not limited to optimum benefits to the country and its people, increased exports and foreign currency generation, enhanced investment and capacity building, increased productivity and employment creation; and greater value addition.[1]If successful, the plan is envisioned to mark an approximate 340% increase from the US$2.7 billion as at 2017.However, promising as it seems, the success or failure of the mining plan largely rests on the need for strong political will to address the transparency and accountability deficit currently bedevilling the sector.

The potential of the mining sector to turn around the economic fortunes of Zimbabwe after decades of economic malaise cannot be overemphasized. In this regard, the success of the Upper Middle-Income Agenda (Vision 2030) also largely rests on the mining sector which is expected to spur economic growth. Nevertheless, an analysis of the status quo in the mining sector clearly shows that the US$12 billion mining industry plan and the broader Vision 2030 might remain pipe dreams if there is no political will to transform the sector. Whilst commendable efforts are being made by the government towards transforming the sector including the establishment of provincial committees to oversee the transformation of the mining sector towards the US$12 billion industry, this is just but a piecemeal considering the transparency and accountability gaps in the sector which must be tackled at all levels.

Follow the ZAMI conversations on twitter #Mining4Dev #ZAMI2020, we will also be live on facebook and youtube

[1] (2020) USD 12 Billion Mining Economy By 2023: What Are the Key Enablers?

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