Calls for mining firms to publish their contracts and revenue derived from their operations should not be viewed as seeking political mileage, but a move that would increase beneficiation from the country’s mineral resources.
Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association director Mutuso Dhliwayo was speaking last Friday during the launch of the Publish What You Pay Zimbabwe Chapter, a programme seeking transparency in the highly lucrative sector, said there was no need to be secretive if operations were above board.
Dhliwayo added it was disturbing for companies to refuse to divulge their earnings on political grounds.
“Information about awarding of mining contracts must be made public and people should discuss it before those are awarded to say whether they think the contracts would benefit the country or not,” said Dhliwayo.
“If people scrutinise them, they will be able to say we are not going to get any value from that contract and then it might be revised so that it becomes more realistic.”
Dhliwayo said the Publish What You Pay initiative was not a fight for civic society organisations alone, but must involved all Zimbabweans seeking transparency in a sector generating millions of dollars annually.
“For example, parliamentarians from the Mines and Energy Portfolio Committee were denied access to Chiadzwa. We want to know why and if there are any contracts being issued in secrecy.
“Transparency is the way forward because the whole talk of secrecy in the diamond sector and fear of revealing company secrets during disclosure is just a cover-up for impunity so that people continue to loot,” Dhliwayo said.
He said the lack of cohesion by the ministries of Mines and Mining Development and Finance on diamond revenue was worrying and Publish What You Pay would act as a watchdog to enhance transparency in the mining sector.
Dhliwayo said for example, some conglomerates like Zimplats and Rio Tinto were already publishing what they paid in other countries although they were not doing the same in Zimbabwe.