BY ARNOLD FANDISO
CHAIRPERSON of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines, Edmond Mkaratigwa on Wednesday said the Mines and Minerals Act must be reviewed in order to ban mining activities near public infrastructure such as dip tanks and homesteads.
He said this in the National Assembly in response to a petition from the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela).
Mkaratigwa said the review of the Mines and Minerals Act will assist in the improvement of service delivery by the Mines ministry through the introduction of the mining cadastre system.
“There was a call that the Mines and Minerals Act should have provisions on the prohibition of mining near public infrastructure such as dip tanks, homesteads,” Mkaratigwa said.
“There is lack of harmony between laws affecting the exploitation of natural resources, particularly those that relate to the management of the environment, local authorities and mining sector,” he said.
Mkaratigwa also said that there was no parity in the current mining laws on the taxes levied by local authorities on miners.
“Each local authority imposes a mining levy different from the others, making investment expensive in one district compared to another. Hence there is need for the association of local authorities to address this matter in line with the ease of doing business reforms in Zimbabwe.”
The committee recommended that the Mines ministry should ensure that it urgently brings before Parliament amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act.
Last year, the committee had given the Mines ministry a September 2020 deadline, but they failed to bring the law before Parliament for crafting.
“Civil society organisations such as Zela should work towards raising awareness on the contents of the Mines and Minerals Act so that communities and ordinary citizens can claim their rights.
“Associations of local authorities should empower their affiliates with knowledge on the Mines and Minerals Act and the Rural District Council’s Act so that local authorities can fully engage the Ministry of Mines in order to claim their rights and taxes pertaining to mining operations in their jurisdiction,” the committee said in its recommendations.
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