CIVIC society groups and stakeholders in the mining industry have described government’s proposed new mining and minerals policy as too complicated to be understood by the common man.
Report by Obey Manayiti
The policy proposes to review mining royalties, ensure equitable distribution of mineral benefits, enhance transparency and create a web-based mining survey.
In separate interviews with NewsDay on the sidelines of a workshop to discuss the policy document in Mutare yesterday, civic society groups also said the document did not have provisions compelling mining companies and government to carry out human rights impact assessments before commencement of mining activities.
“In its current form, the draft mining policy does not include clear provisions on how transparency and accountability in the mining sector will be promoted,” said Shamiso Mtisi, Zimbabwe coordinator of the Kimberley Process Civic Society.
“For example, there is no provision related to the oversight role of Parliament on contract and revenue use and management. In the same vein, the draft mining policy does not make reference to the Zimbabwe Mining Revenue Transparency Initiative, which is another government initiative to promote transparency and accountability through disclosure of mining revenues and contracts.
“Structurally, the mining policy is too complicated. Technically, it does not read like a policy document at all. It does not state the strategies and policy direction of government, but appears to be a restatement of the problems people have been pointing out over and over again. It should be simplified for the ordinary people to understand it.
“The document does not include the need for mining companies and government to carry out human rights impact assessments before they start mining. The mining sector, especially diamond mining, has caused lots of suffering to local communities and violations of their civil, political, environmental, economic and social rights.”
James Mupfumi, director of the Centre for Research and Development, an organisation that documented human rights violations in Chiadzwa under its former director Farai Maguwu, dismissed the draft as elitist.
“The draft largely remains a minority document without clear policies on community benefits,” said Mupfumi.
“At the same time, the role of critical stakeholders like EMA (Environmental Management Agency) and local government in the issuance of special mining rights is still advisory rather than mandatory.”
Women in Mining national executive member Tichaenzana Lizzie Yona said she wished the policy would clearly state the financing of small-scale miners and groups such as women and youths.
Mining consultant Paul Jordan said if not properly managed, mineral resources could trigger political unrest.