STAKEHOLDERS in the mining sector have criticised the government for contributing to the discord affecting the indigenisation policy because of its reluctance to expeditiously reform mining laws and policies.
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
The call was by stakeholders during a recent mining indaba in Shurugwi, Midlands province. Stakeholders said the reforms would also curb illegal mining activities.
“Government should expeditiously reform mining laws and policies, in particular the Mines and Minerals Act, the draft Minerals Policy and legalisation of artisanal mining,” the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) said in a report presented at the meeting.
“Failure by government to reform mining laws has resulted in many people in the Great Dyke involved in unlicensed gold mining operations as a source of income and are often arrested, harassed or looked down upon as a menace.”
Zela added: “Failure by government to address the inconsistencies and contradictions between the law, practice and public statements made by some government officials around the implementation of the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme may cloud the whole programme and hinder progress and investment in the Great Dyke.”
On corporate social responsibility programmes by mining companies, the report said there should be distinction between corporate social responsibility and projects initiated by Community Share Ownership Trusts.
“The failure to address inconsistencies in the legal framework have resulted in negative environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts of some mining operations in the Great Dyke and on communities in the area caused by some companies that are failing to respect the rights of communities and deliberately failing to comply with national laws and policies governing the mining sector and environmental management programmes.”
Communities in the Great Dyke were also said to be excluded in decision and policy making processes related to mining despite the fact that the Great Dyke region contributed to the overall national mineral production output. “Existing laws regulating the mining sector and the processes of acquiring mining rights/licences should be simplified and translated to ensure locals have a clear understanding of the laws and procedures on acquisition of mining rights in the Great Dyke. MPs should continue engaging with their constituencies to understand emerging issues on the extractions of natural resources,” the report added.