THE Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) has lamented the draft mineral policy that seeks to replace the Mines and Minerals Act, saying it lacked community representation at grassroots levels.
Speaking at a two-day workshop in Gweru on Thursday, Zela official Gilbert Makore said although the mineral policy was a step in the right direction, it sidelined mining communities’ participation in the industry.
“Though the minerals policy has its positives, it lacks community representation. For example, if you look at the Minerals Development Board that will replace the Minerals Affairs Board in the current Act, you will notice that it (Minerals Development Board) does not have community representation,” he said.
“The draft policy also does not make clear mention of mining communities, the role of local authorities, social impacts of mining and issues to do with occupational health and safety on the communities.”
Makore said the Mines ministry’s consultative meetings on the policy were marred by major challenges such as failure to reach out to rural communities who are affected by mining activities.
He said even in areas where the ministry had held the meetings, not enough time had been given to participants.
“The consultative meetings on the minerals policy are restricted to urban areas,” Makore continued.
“Moreover, stakeholders are not given enough time to go through the draft and it is mainly in English and riddled with technical jargon that is complex for communities.”
He, however, said the draft represented a good start in reforming the mining sector in Zimbabwe as it laid the legal framework for support for geological mapping and would promote a sector with forward and backward linkages.
Makore noted other positives in the draft policy included the channelling of 5% of mining proceeds to skills development, among others.