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Miners disrespect culture

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Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) has accused miners of disrespecting cultures of communities they are operating in resulting in, traditional chiefs attributing that to low rainfall.

Speaking at a workshop in Harare, Zela legal officer Veronica Zano said some traditional leaders were furious over how foreign miners were violating their cultures.

“Traditional leaders say these miners are violating cultural rights during operations in their communities. These miners include the Chinese, Russians and Lebanese. They come into communities, displace the villagers and pollute their environment. Villagers are suffering,” she said.

“Some are now attributing the lack of rainfall to the violation of their cultural rights. They argue their ancestors are not happy because of the disrespect of their rights since they stay in a rich land, but are not benefiting from their ancestral land resources.”

Zela projects co-ordinator Gilbert Makore also said the mining sector was not growing as much as it could be due to the country’s archaic mining laws.

“The mining sector is still governed by archaic laws that are restricting the growth of this sector,” Makore said. “They have no provisions regarding community rights, environmental rights and general transparency.”

Makore said Zela was engaging the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on mining for the review of mining laws.

The government recently announced it will finalise the long-awaited Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill when Parliament resumes sitting, while the promulgation of a diamonds policy will be completed in the second half of the year.

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