MAC: Mines and Communities

Declaration of Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba

Published by MAC on 2012-09-24
Source: Statement (2012-09-18)

Towards Sustainable Mining in Zimbabwe

By Rumbidzai M. Masango

Economic Justice Network

18 September 2012

Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) in partnership with the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) and Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT) immaculately hosted a three day "People's Indaba" at the Harare Crowne Plaza Hotel, from the 11th - 13th September this year. The event, known officially as the "Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba" (ZAMI), saw over 120 individuals including; Chiefs, Legislators, church leaders, mining communities, community based organizations, regional participants, youth and women activists and media taking part in the indaba.

Poster for Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba
Poster for Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba

The ZAMI, which had no registration fee, allowed invited and interested participants to identify and discuss some of the challenges in the country's mining sector. This people's space came at an opportune time given the rising interest in natural resource extraction in Southern Africa over the last few years. In Zimbabwe, diamonds amongst other precious metals have caused a lot of public debate. As a result, a major objective of the Alternative Indaba was to discuss issues of equitable distribution of revenue from mineral resources exploited in the country.

Church leaders reflected and raised concern about the moral conduct within the extractive sector. Rev. Zwana, the General Secretary of the ZCC explained in his Keynote Address that, "natural resource management cannot be divorced from the ethical dimensions." He reminded participants that "God created and values nature." Adding that as human beings, "we must take up the role of being good stewards, which implies good management of natural resource extraction, respecting people's rights and taking responsibility" should anything go amiss.

During the same ZAMI dates, the fourth edition of the three-day Zimbabwe Mining Indaba was underway with a focus on boosting foreign direct investment in the Zimbabwe mining sector. With registration fees ranging from US$300, the government initiated indaba did not provide space on its programme for community socio-economic concerns. Instead, organisers of the Indaba, Utho Capital, said the main objective was to portray Zimbabwe's potential as a powerhouse in mining and an infrastructure hub in the region.

The contribution made to the Zimbabwe economy by the mining economy caused much debate at the People's Indaba. While the Ministry of Mines claims that mining contributed to 60% of export earnings, and 13% to the country's Gross Domestic Product (2011), one still wonders why the country has nothing to show for this. Thus the theme, "counting the costs and questioning the benefits", was very relevant in setting the tone at the ZAMI. In his presentation, Mr. Showers Mawowa called for institutions to be strengthened and stressed the need to increase staff as well as their capacity. He said in the event this could not be achieved, it was better to leave resources in the ground.

Media's Role in the Extractive Sector and the challenges faced on reporting on Environmental, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was presented by Mr. Sifelani Tsiko. He mentioned that in this sector investigative journalism is important however the lack of financial support to carry it out is a challenge. He cautioned participants that while the media can be a watchdog and expose ill practice, it has not power to punish. The media would hope that society as a whole, once enlightened by the news, would pursue justice through the necessary channels.

After three days of deliberations, a declaration was produced and taken to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development for the attention of the Permanent Secretary as well as the honourable Minister Mr. Obert Mpofu.


THE ZIMBABWE ALTERNATIVE MINING INDABA

CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL, HARARE, ZIMBABWE

11 ‐ 13 September 2012

Declaration

WE, members of Civil Society, more than 120 participants, having gathered at the inaugural Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba in Harare, from the 11th‐13th of September 2012 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, under the theme "Counting the costs and questioning the benefits: towards sustainable mining in Zimbabwe", hosted by Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT) and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) comprising of traditional leaders, faith based organisations, youth and women groups, non‐governmental organizations (NGOs) legislators, media, community based organisations and activists, with regional representation from South Africa and Zambia are;

DEEPLY CONCERNED about the high levels of poverty and under‐development in Africa in general, and Zimbabwe in particular, in‐spite of the abundant mineral resources;

AWARE of the significant contributions that prudent, efficient, equitable and sustainable exploitation and management of our mineral resources can make towards the achievement of broad‐based socio‐economic development;

TAKING INTO ACCOUNT that much of Zimbabwe's mineral resources remain under‐explored;

CONVINCED that while Zimbabwe is resource rich and the communities directly affected by mining activities and citizens in general have not benefited from the mineral wealth;

MINDFUL of the fact that God is the sustainer of creation and that He bestowed upon man the responsibility to be good stewards, therefore natural resource management cannot be divorced from ethical devotion;

CONCERNED that the extractive sector has not been anchored on good governance, transparency and accountability, respect of human rights, environmental sustainability, socio‐economic justice, cultural integrity and inter‐generational equity;

CONCERNED FURTHER by the poor recruitment policies, remuneration, working and living conditions and other unfair labour practices in the mining sector;

COGNISANT of the fact that there is poor revenue generation, management, use and distribution as well as rampant corruption in the sector;

NOTING with concern that Corporate Social Responsibility is not a legal obligation, yet it could contribute significantly to community development;

RECALLING the experience from the previous Alternative Mining Indabas in the SADC region (Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania) which have provided an alternative space for communities to share their experiences, building capacity and people to people solidarity of affected communities, civil society organizations and other stakeholders in the extractive sector;

CONSIDERING that the Zimbabwean government is fully committed to the SADC Mining Protocol and the African Mining Vision and its implementation frameworks;

TAKING NOTE that governments within the SADC region and the African Union Working Group on Extractives have acknowledged the concerns of the stakeholders voiced through Alternative Mining Indabas;

HAVING deliberated for the last three days, we specifically demand that the Zimbabwean government;

1. Immediately pass and implement the Mines and Minerals Amendment Act, the Diamond Act, the Diamond Policy, the SADC Mining Protocol and the African Mining Vision (AMV) as well as other mining policies and laws taking into account recommendations in the African Mining Vision's Action Plan.

2. Must provide adequate policy space for legislators and other arms of government to fully exercise their oversight role in the mining sector and in the negotiation of mining contracts, we further demand that the legislators and interested parties be granted access to all mining areas without exception;

3. Must ensure that Corporate Social Accountability and Responsibility shifts from being a voluntary to mandatory mechanism with agreed minimum standards which directly benefits the affected communities;

4. Must review and renegotiate mining contracts and ensure transparency and accountability to enhance economic benefits for the country;

5. Must create a conducive environment for civil society, community, media and other stakeholders to have the right to access information and fully exercise the right to know;

6. Through the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority government must stop externalization of mineral revenue by reviewing the laws and further strengthening institutional and human capacity of the Authority;

7. Must build capacity of the Human Rights Commission and the Environmental Management Agency to fully investigate and prosecute human rights and environmental abuses in the mining sector;

8. Must ensure that Community Share Ownership Schemes enable communities directly affected by mining activities to benefit, thus government should establish other environmental and social funds such as Royalties for communities, a Stabilization Fund, Heritage/Future Fund, Decommissioning Fund, CAMPFIRE Fund, Mine Rehabilitation and Closure Fund;

9. Must revise the current Mining tax regime in a way that would enable them to collect commensurate royalties on mineral sales, gross production and tax on mining profits

10. Must ensure that mining policies do not give excessive incentives to foreign investments but instead put in place appropriate tax policies that curb capital flight through tax evasion and avoidance.

11. Must make it mandatory for companies extracting minerals in the country to be listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) before being listed elsewhere;

12. Must repeal with immediate effect Mining General Regulation: Statutory Instrument 11 of 2012, which was enacted by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development that led to the exorbitant increase of mining license fees and further finalise the legalisation and regularisation of artisanal and small‐scale mining and strengthen women and youth participation in the sector

13. We urge the government to continue to press on with finalizing the Constitution so that people begin to enjoy their socio‐economic rights and benefits.
We shall not relent in our quest for social justice in the management of our natural resources!

Contact Details:
Zimbabwe Environment Law Association (ZELA)
Chiadzwa Community Development Trust
6 London Derry Rd, Eastlea 34 Fereday Drive, Eastlea
Tel: +263 4 253381/252093/250971 Tel: +263 773 642 397
Website: www.zela.org

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