Protecting the rights of communities and conserving the environment and natural resources

Blog: Communities

Impacts of Mining to Host Communities

A Report on a Monitoring Visit to Mhondongori, Zvishavane

1.1 Introduction and Background

In early 2016, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association commissioned a research into the social, economic and environmental impacts of mining to rural communities that host mining investment in Zimbabwe. One of the driving factor for the research was seen as the high levels of unmonitored chrome mining activities in Zvishavane. Some of the recommendations from the ZELA/OXFAM research directly related to the promotion of Social Licensing, promoting community consent and decentralisation of key reporting institutions.

In February 2018, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) in partnership with Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA) commissioned a separate, independent monitoring visit to Zvishavane, in Mhondongori village. The primary purpose of the visit was to follow up on community members’ activities and reflections that were being put in action after the members had visited other mining areas in South Africa and Mozambique, and learnt various lessons. Further, the monitoring visit would aim at creating a platform where communities discuss emerging issues from chrome mining and also freely share with the Environmental Management Authority and Runde Rural District Council representatives on these issues.

1.2 The Good

Chrome mining is an important economic activity in Zimbabwe. Indeed, Zimbabwe is the seventh largest producer of Chrome in the world[1]. In 2017 the country earned $293 million and $84,4 million from high carbon ferrochrome and chrome ore respectively[2]. Further, in 2018 the Government projects an output of 1,7 Million tonnes from Chrome, which is a significant 80 percent increase from 2017[3].

Chrome mining has been seen as critical tool in community empowerment and economic development. One way adopted by government to achieve this is to acquire large tracts of land from mining companies and redistribute it to small scale miners in the community through a tributary mining system. For instance, in 2016 the Government announced that ZIMASCO had ceded 22 000 hectares of land containing massive chrome rich deposits while a further 20 000 hectares were ceded by ZimAlloys to small scale miners[4]. This model has empowered local citizens and communities by giving them access to resources occurring in their areas, thus benefitting from their natural resources.

1.3 The Ugly

Despite good governmental intentions in relation to community empowerment through tributary mining, the local communities continue to pay too high a cost out of mining activities. One affected community member pointed this out:

“We are facing harassment from chrome miners in our village. Some of the miners come from outside Mhondongori. They(Chrome Miners) are stealing our livestock when not paid properly by their employers. We have also recorded several cases were local communities are attacked coming from shopping and the victims are dumped in open pits (left from chrome mining) for dead. We are losing grazing land for our livestock through veld-fires as the miners are resorting to poaching wild animals.”

The community members further highlighted cases of sexual abuse of minor girls as young as 12 years from the miners. The mining operations are also leaving open pits as there are no proper rehabilitation plan in place. One villager, a member of the Mhondongori Development Trust stated:

“Last week we stopped the large mining trucks from passing through our community. We detained the truck for three days demanding the mine owners to engage us and hear our grievances. The Police intervened and we released the trucks”.

The trust mobilised other community members to stand against the miners, and this canbe regarded as an innovative way of compelling dialogue and engagement. An EMA officer confirmed community claims, highlighting that:

“The tributary miners are leaving open pits. It is difficult for us to hold these miners accountable. We cannot demand for their Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as ownership of their claims is not recognised by Ministry of Mines.”

Yet another official, the Environment Officer of Runde Rural District Council complained:

“Our worry as council is on sanitation. There are no toilets in the proximity of the mining activities”.

 

1.4 Way forward

Women from Mhondongori have gone a step forward in creating women Forums to fight against the negative impacts of chrome mining in their community. The forums give them a collective and louder voice to stand against the abuses of the tributary system and other wrongs of mining in the area. In the context of the discussions and the lessons that communities learnt from their regional experiences the following recommendations were made:

  • The Government should ensure that the tributaries are registered under the Ministry of Mines before such tributaries can commence operations.
  • EMA should make demands on number of open pits to be rehabilitated as opposed to having miners submit their rehabilitation plan.
  • Communities should be consulted on miners who will be mining in the area to create room for accountability.
  • Runde RDC in partnership with EMA must ensure close monitoring on all land degradation activities.
  • The Mhondongori community has to identify opportunities presented by the mining operations such as the currently running fishery project, where the Mhondongori Development Trust converted open mining pits to fish ponds.
  • ZELA should continually support and educate the women forums with legal skills so that they are conscious of their rights, available remedies, legal strategies and approaches to problem solving.

[1] https://www.indexmundi.com/minerals/?product=chromite&graph=production

[2] http://ebusinessweekly.co.zw/zim-mineral-exports-surpass-target/

[3] http://www.czi.co.zw/images/presentations/outlook7.pdf

[4] https://www.herald.co.zw/binding-title-will-be-welcome-chrome-miners/

All I Want For 2018!

2018 seems to be a promising year, with so many possibilities.  Yes!!!!!!  Whilst we have a new government, we still have the same old challenges that require addressing to bring change to the people of Zimbabwe.

My heart broke on the 31st of December 2018 when I woke up to very  graphic, disturbing pictures of  a man who had been attacked by a lion in the Mbire  district of Zimbabwe. Its is said a picture says a hundred words. If these don’t, I don’t know what will. Be warned this is not a  pretty sight. One can only imagine the trauma  this man’s family has been exposed to after waking up to see their father an able bodied man, whom they loved dearly,had said good night to and had probably made plans for the next day  being reduced to nothing or rather pieces of meat by a lion ( this I say with all respect).

In 2017, it is reported  34 lives of people and more of livestock were lost to wildlife in Zimbabwe. Of these lives many of them were bread winners to families, fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, daughters and sons, well the point I am trying to make is that they were someone dear to someone. Despite the statistics of who has died what made me ponder  is what the government has not done for the families who were unfortunate enough to experience what befell them. In some areas where campfire is active ( sadly there are not many) the family of the injured is given 300 dollars while that of the victims who have died is given the same. Here lays the question, is this enough or can the government do more?. will they do more ? The animals that cause so much havoc are the animals said to belong to national parks. The irony of the system is that the communities are forced to pay fines when their animals graze in protected areas but the parks do not pay when their animals cause havoc in their lives.

Of the 34 that were killed 21 were mauled by crocodiles, two by lions. 393 cases of human and wildlife conflict have been reported in the year 2017. This could have been 393 deaths or more. Can the government work on technological upgrade that will allow national parks to track their animals. It’s not only the life of people that’s I am worried about, but the welfare of the wild animals is also critical to safe guard if Zimbabwe wants to boost its tourism

All I want for 2018 (well for the 1st part of 2018) can our new government look into developing a human wildlife conflict compensation scheme that will assist families of the victims of the HWC. Historically, humans have battled with wildlife in Zimbabwe and regarded wild animals as vermin, crop-raiders, livestock predators or vectors of disease. A change of attitude came about in the 1960’s as the aesthetic and economic values of diminishing wildlife populations became apparent. In recent years, much progress has been made to reduce human-wildlife conflict with methods far more creative than simply shooting ‘problem’ animals. The conflict mitigation methods included costly investments in tsetse fly control, electric fence construction, planting of chilli peppers to deter elephants and sophisticated game management with harvest quotas to keep animal numbers at optimal carrying capacity. In many areas around the country without sophisticated barriers or conflict mitigation measures, wild animals cause significant damage. For example, in one communal area near Hwange in 2002 elephants destroyed up to 90% of people’s crops and trampled 21 people to death. However, CAMPFIRE (Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources) programs in the area that helped local communities to reap financial benefits associated with living with dangerous animals on their land primarily by selling strictly regulated quotas of animals to foreign hunters and then dividing the proceeds within the community, thus easing the economic burden of living alongside wildlife.

I think I can t not stress this enough there need to for the realignment of the Parks and wildlife act. We are still being guided by an act that was passed in the colonial era and there have been so many changes up to date for us to still manage our wildlife based on colonial era principles. Times have changed, and so have governments, we have a new constitution but we are still stuck on using that of the colonial. While we demand change in Zimbabwe with the new government, let it be change on all fronts including the wild enchanted forests of Zimbabwe.

In short:

  1. We need a compensation scheme in Zimbabwe for the human and wildlife conflict victims
  2. Government need to invest more in technologies that allow us to track animals.
  3. We need to align our parks and wildlife act with the constitution of Zimbabwe of 2013.

By  Nobuhle the girl who loved  PJ the vulture.

Our donkeys are worth saving and not killing!!!!!!!!

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the global donkey population is estimated at 44 million. The current population of donkeys in Zimbabwe is estimated to be 150000, a population already low to sustain donkey skin trading. If  allowed setting up of donkey abattoirs will be a contribution to the local extinction of donkeys in Zimbabwe. The donkey’s role depends on the communities which it lives with and works for. Usually, its traditional role includes riding, ploughing and carting, with less roles in entertainment and food production. Donkeys are not conventional sources of meat, and their uses for packing and traction do not fit within the stereotyped perspectives of livestock development agencies. Nonetheless, they are essential to the subsistence strategies of many communities in semi-arid regions, relieving families of repetitive and energy-consuming tasks.

 

A donkey is a resilient animal that provides reliable source of draught power to the people in the rural areas. As a saying says a woman without a donkey is a donkey, without draught power or donkeys the marginalised of the society (i.e. women, youth and disabled people) should work twice as much to complete tusks that can be made easy by donkeys. Donkeys are known to have contributed to the economy of rural people as they are used for farming activities that generate income.  In a research done by FAO Working donkeys, where they are observed, most often suffer from three main things:

  • Wounds – due to poor harnessing and hitching, or otherwise abuse by owners.
  • Ingestion of inappropriate things, such as plastic and sand.
  • Parasite infestation (where this may be detectable, such as in the faeces).

All these are problems of management, not of work proving their resilience which is not what one would say for cattle that can be an alternative form of draught power.

Besides donkeys being a good form of draught power, African countries are the most affected by global warming,  donkeys provide a form of cheap transportation that does not add more gases to the ozone as compared to vehicles. The other challenge of global warming  has been shortage of water and donkeys can travel long distances to obtain that for families.

 

The legalization of the donkey trade will increase the incidences of donkey theft for sale to the abattoir in the rural areas, while on the bright side that increases the value of the donkey it increases     their vulnerabilities to theft. It will be good as well to consider that the communities were not consulted on the sale and export of the donkeys are a probably doing so from an un informed position not taking note of the implications in the future. Additionally, every country that has licensed donkey abattoirs has seen an increase in donkey theft. Botswana closed its operations because complaints from the communities. Trafficking of donkey skins in other countries is often linked to wildlife criminal syndicates, and legitimising the trade could provide new linkages for wildlife poachers

 

Therefore, if we allow the slaughter of donkeys in Zimbabwe we have;

  • Taken away a source of livelihoods form the rural people.
  • We have taken away a source of cheap transport from them.
  • We have increased the chances of donkey theft.
  • In the next 10 years donkeys could be extinct with the unsustainable harvesting/slaughter for trade.
  • The disposal of the carcasses of the donkeys can have environmental implications.

 

Give our donkeys a chance !!!!

 

by Nobuhle The girl who loved P.J the vulture

Stakeholder voices: Review of Mineral Rich Tongogara RDC’s Strategic Plan

TRDC Strat plan.jpg

Stakeholders attending Tongogara RDC’s strategic planning review meeting

On 23 and 24 November 2017, Tongogara Rural District Council (TRDC) held a multi-stakeholder workshop to review its 5-year strategic plan (2015-2019) at Fair Mile hotel in Gweru. The objectives of the review process were to take social stock of progress- achievements and challenges, to adapt strategies in response to the ever-changing environment and to mainstream the Sustainable Development Goals in council programmes. In line with its thrust to ensure that mineral resources are managed to deliver quality local essential services, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) provided both technical and financial resources for reviewing TRDC’s strategic plan. Stakeholders (42 people) who participated during the review of the strategic plan included government ministries, Tongogara Community Share Ownership Trust, Civil Society Organisations, councillors, community representatives and TRDC secretariat.

Find below stakeholder voices;

Tongogara is a mineral resource rich district. We are blessed with significant platinum, gold and chrome deposits. The potential to deliver quality local social services is there if mining companies pay their fair share of taxes to finance local development activities” B Dube, Executive Officer (EO), social service delivery, TRDC .

“This strategic review planning meeting has been an eye opener. I had no idea that the projects being implemented by Tongogara RDC are a result of a long-term plan. Now that we are aware that there are deliverables and targets to be met, it is easier monitor and hold accountable Tongogara RDC” Traditional Chief Nhema

“Women’s needs are being prioritised in local delivery of social services. In 2014, we appealed for maternity wards.  A sizeable number of women were giving birth at home. Progress has been recorded, several maternity wards were constructed” Elen Zinyuke, women representative

“It is sad that mining companies are not participating at this strategic planning review meeting. The corporate social investments they undertake should complement what Tongogara RDC is doing.  Local stakeholders participate in Anglo-American owned Unki Mine’s local stakeholder engagement platform, yet Unki mine does not participate in council driven stakeholder consultations” local stakeholder

“The strategic planning review meeting was an opportunity to mainstream 10 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as prioritised by central government, in Tongogara RDC’s development programmes” Felix Mukosera, local government expert

“Tongogara RDC’s social safety nets are now prioritising the girl child. The bursary scheme and planned campaign to end child marriages will help to promote the realisation of the girl child’s rights.” Social service delivery expert

“I am happy that Tongogara TRDC is consulting disabled people during formulation and implementation of  the council’s development plans. The challenge is that we are not seeing progress in some areas  like income generation projects” Tawanda Muchokoto of Shurugwi Association of People with Disability

“We need government to approve our bylaws on environment and natural resource management to better manage most of the environmental challenges we are facing in Tongogara RDC” Mubaiwa, Executive Officer, environment management, Tongogara RDC. ZELA supported TRDC with public consultations and drafting of the bylaws on environment and natural resources.

“Whilst several local governments have a challenge on timeous production of audited financial statements, I am happy to tell you that Tongogara RDC’s audited financial statements are up-to-date” Treasurer, Tongogara RDC.

“We welcome Tongogara RDC’s programme of auditing council owned schools to promote better handling of local public resources in line with Finance and Administration of Schools Circular 6 of 1994. However, council auditors should work closely with Ministry of Education’s auditors to avoid duplication and to promote better enforcement the recommendations.”

“Synergies between Tongogara Community Share Ownership’s developed plans and Tongogara RDC’s development agenda are critical enablers of improved local service delivery” Mukasiri Sibanda, Economic Governance Officer with Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association.

To conclude, it must be noted that Section 13 (2) of Constitution provides for community participation in  the formulation and implementation of development plans that affect them. ZELA will work with Tongogara RDC to ensure that communities are aware  of and are able to understand council’s development targets. Such a process will enable better community participation during local budget public consultations, ensuring that resources are effectively allocated to achieve set targets as per the development plan. Prior to the review, Tongogara RDC had carried out a stakeholder needs assessment to ensure that the review of the development plan is aligned with community priorities.

Infrastructural development Challenges in Mutoko


Infrastructural. Development. In. Mutoko. In. Respect. With. Mining. Companies. Mining activities started from as long as 1972 in mutoko ,since then little has been done in respect to Infrastructural development. Quarrying enterprise only started to chip in 2017 by constructing an. E. C. D block at nyamakope primary school in nyamuganhu ward 5, headman nyamakope under chief charehwa. The block is currently at roof stage. Parents also took part by moulding bricks and supplied concrete stones. ln another part of the ward under headman kadiki in gurure area ,there are other two quarries namely ziq and c.r.g.constructing a clinic in gurure village. Construction started way back in 2008 after consultation with the development committee (,nyamuganhu b). The community chipped in by moulding bricks and all the dirty work ,assisting the builders. The clinic has taken long to reach completion almost ten years now. The block is almost complete only the ceiling is yet to be done. There are 3houses to be built and septic tank. Ilford services are constructing an administration block at gurure sec school ,its above window level. The block is now 3years before completion. It was initially agreed to be completed in six months time.

E. C. D block☝🏻
☝🏻☝🏻
: Admin block at gurure secondary
Evelyn kutyauripo. M. N. C. D.

Mutoko Warms Up To Africa Mining Vision

Concerned that the community in Mutoko is unhinged from the main economic activity in their locality, black granite mining, Mutoko Rural District Council (MRDC) supported by The Civic Forum on Human Development (CFHD), Silveira House and Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) organised a district alternative mining indaba. The indaba was held at Nyamakwere hotel, Mutoko centre from 13 to 15 June 2018.

Participants comprised of mining affected communities, Community Based Organisations (CBOs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) traditional chiefs, local government officials, Ministry of Mines, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and Natural Stones- a mining company. Altogether, 95 people participated at the indaba, 22 women and 73 men. Here are five interesting things to note concerning the indaba.

Africa Mining Vision inspiring Mutoko community

Government is yet to hit top gear on implementation of the Africa Mining Vision (AMV), Mutoko community certainly view domestication of the AMV as a panacea to the resource curse. Realising that Africa should not continue to squander the opportunity to hinge development on her vast mineral wealth, the Union Heads of State and Government adopted the AMV in 2009. AMV envisages transparency, equity and the optimal development of mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and socioeconomic development in Africa. Key talking points that enabled Mutoko community to warm up to AMV include the following;

AMV encourages government to acquire knowledge of the mineral wealth potential of the country to create better opportunities to optimally gain from the disposal of mineral rights. Areas known to have high mineral wealth potential should be sold through competitive bidding to choose a bidder who offers optimal development dividend, taxes, development of local supply chains, infrastructure, skills and technological transfer.

Mutoko community was deflated to know that the country’s mining regime uses the First In First Assessed (FIFA) principle to grant mineral rights, stifling space for competitive bidding. To acquire mineral rights based on FIFA principle, an investor pays $200 for a prospecting license, $300 to get a mining title and $100 annually to renew the mining title. An ordinary block of black granite mining covers 25 hectares.

To make Mutoko community relate better to the costs of acquiring black granite mining claims, the costs were converted to livestock-goats and cattle. It costs 6 goats to get a prospecting license, 1 cow to get a mining title and 3 goats, to renew the mining title. Clearly, Mutoko community can afford to own black granite mining titles in their area.

Taking a leaf from the recent government-Zimplats deal on the release of platinum claims, Mutoko community should press government to negotiate the release of black granite claims to Mutoko Community Share Ownership Trust (MCSOT). The trust will negotiate with potential investors through competitive bidding, a process that can create better local and economic development opportunity than the current scenario.

The above is a short to medium solution, ideally, the reform of the Mines and Minerals Act to accommodative competitive bidding for the award of mineral rights in areas with high mineral wealth potential is a necessity.

Mutoko Alternative Mining Indaba Unique and Refreshing

As the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) celebrates its 10th anniversary, Mutoko district AMI stands out among several AMI’s achievements. The AMI was created as a response to the regional Mining Indaba, a platform in Cape Town, South Africa, for investors and government officials to discuss investment opportunities and risks in Africa’s mining sector.

Disturbed by the fact that communities affected by mining activities did not have a seat at the table at the Mining Indaba, led by the Nowergian Church Aid, CSOs started the AMI movement in 2009 as an annual event. Zimbabwe started its national AMI in 2012 under the leadership of ZELA with support from Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) and Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD).

In 2013, Zimbabwe scored a first by devolving AMI to provincial and local level. Mutoko local indaba is unique and refreshing in that it is driven by Mutoko RDC through partnership with CSOs. It is Mutoko RDCs that was at the forefront of inviting stakeholders and crafting the agenda, of course through a participatory approach. Hopefully, other resource rich RDCs will be inspired by Mutoko example to spread and strengthen the AMI movement.

Limited Transparency and Accountability of Corporate Social Responsibility Activities

Although mining companies in Zimbabwe are not legally compelled to practice Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, to gain and maintain a social license to operate, it is desirable for mining companies to contribute to local economic and social development programmes. It is disheartening to note that CSR activities carried out by black granite mining companies are barely transparent and prune to capture by corrupt politicians, government officials and traditional chiefs. One company bragged that it supports national events. For example, the entity donated 1,900 litres of fuel to the recent visit by the President to enable transportation of people from different places. The visit by the President was a ZANU PF campaign rally for 2018 national harmonised elections pencilled on 30 July 2018. This raises the risk of abuse of CSR activities to finance political campaigns. Corporates, therefore, can easily go into bed with politicians to suppress policy reform process that positions mining as a tool for development as envisaged by AMV.

Another development is that black granite mining companies in Mutoko are no longer enjoying the CSR expenditure allowances for mining companies provided under the Income Tax Act. Dr Muvhuro, the human resources director for Natural Stones argued that the changes came with the reclassification of black granite from a mineral to a quarry under the new Finance Act. It is important to know that only Natural Stones is visible on CSR activities, and the other companies such as Ilford, ZIQ, CRG, Quarrying Enterprise and Surewin are barely active.

Stakeholders at Mutoko indaba discussed and agreed that black granite mining companies should come up with a publicly known formula for determining their annual CSR budgets. Further, CSR should feed into the local development plans and targets set by the local authority in consultation with local stakeholders. However, there will be room to deviate from local development plans in case of emergence.

Fiscal Linkages

Section 276 (2) (b) give local authorities powers “to levy rates and taxes and generally to raise sufficient revenue for them to carry out their objects and responsibilities.” The Rural District Council Act gives resource rich local authority the power to collect local taxes from mining activities. In this regard, Mutoko RDC collects local taxes, $1 per tonne of black granite mined. $1 is equivalent to a loaf of bread. In 2017, Mutoko collected $160,000 from black granite mining activities.

Approximately, there are 164,000 people in Mutoko, meaning that mineral income per head amounts to $0.98 per annum. There is no transparency concerning production and marketing of black granite in Mutoko. Mutoko RDC suggested that having a weigh bridge would be beneficial to independently verify production figures. In addition, there is need to engage Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) to understand how the institution to understand black granite revenue, success and challenges concerning black granite marketing.

Also, it was discussed and agreed ZELA should look at the changes in the Finance Act to come up with legal advice on opportunities for Mutoko RDC to get royalties from black granite mining. Notably, before 1994, Mutoko RDC used to get royalties from black granite mining activities which were classified under quarrying helped to construct Mutoko high school, council offices and a commercial building in town.

Environmental concerns

Black granite miners are accused of causing water stress, water sources like streams, wells and boreholes are now drying up easily. Another challenge is dust pollution linked with haulage trucks that are operating in dust roads. Blasting activities are allegedly causing houses and schools to crack. Mining activities are also destroying cultural sites.

Mutoko RDC decried the fact that it has failed to access Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) documents from Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and the mining entities operating in Mutoko. ZELA should take legal action to stop mining companies from operating without EIAs and explore legal opportunities for challenging EIAs which were fraudulently done without proper public consultations.

Leveraging Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining

Introduction
This article was original featured in Business Weekly

Often times portrayed negatively, artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) offers, potentially, exciting opportunities to propel sustainable rural economies.
Certainly, if not done responsible, ASGM can harm rural economies by disrupting agricultural activities, fuelling criminal activities and causing massive environmental damage.

Taking a leaf from the Africa Mining Vision (AMV), in Zimbabwe, ASGM can be integral part of rural economies promotion of knowledge of geological information and information management system; linkages, investments and diversification among others. After all, AMV is a blueprint agreed to by African Head of States at African Union in 2009 to guide transformative socio-economic development underpinned by transparent, equitable and optimum exploitation of Africa’s vast mineral wealth.

Knowledge of geological information and information management
Lack of geological information contributes to farmer — miner conflict and miner — miner conflict. It is common to find artisanal miners using gold detectors in farming areas leading to gold rushes which destroys arable lands. With better knowledge of geological information, there are better opportunities to dedicate areas that are viable for artisanal gold mining.

Already, countries like Tanzania have dedicated zones for artisanal mining. Simple but effective environment management practices will then be employed to rehabilitate the land for farming purposes instead of using complicated Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) tool. Of course, our laws need to be reformed to accommodate artisanal mining.

Conflict can arise when artisanal and small-scale miners (ASMers) invite sponsors without a good understanding of their mineral wealth potential. In case of a huge find, ASMers feel short changed by sponsors leading to conflict on how to share the jackpot.

If miners have a good grounding on their geological assets, they become bankable and it helps the miners to anticipate windfall revenue and plan how to manage better their wealth. In turn, mitigating the stories of from riches to rags commonly found in the ASGM sector.

Infrastructure linkages
Command agriculture’s agenda is to ensure food security by winning off the country from reliance on rain fed agriculture. While underground water is major impediment to ASGM in most parts of the country. During the local economic and development indaba held in Bubi district in Matebeleland North province, on June 28 and 29, 2018, women miners expressed concern on lack of equipment to dewater their mines. There are opportunities, therefore, for command agriculture to support ASGM with water pumps in the same vein ensuring that water drawn out can be used for irrigation purposes in arable lands.

Benefits from such an intervention are numerous. It helps to improve farmer miner conflicts as farmers reap benefits of seeing ASGM as a water supply source for their farming activities. The nation stands to benefit from increased ASGM production which helps the country to generate much needed foreign currency. By encouraging usage of water pumped out by miners, in a way, offsetting depletion of underground water by mining activities.

Lessons can be learnt from several miners who have used underground water to successfully grow their agricultural business. In Bubi, Mr Ncube the chairperson of Bubi small-scale miners Association (BSSMA) is a classic example.

A beneficiary to the land reform process, Mr Ncube realised that there was an old gold mining shaft at his plot which was flooded with water. Mr Ncube is exploiting linkages between mining and agriculture successfully.

Investments linkages
Gold mining is a billion-dollar industry. Last year — 2017, ASGM contributed 53 percent to the country’s total gold production (24 843,87kg). It follows that over half billion dollars flowed to pockets of thousand artisanal and small-scale miners (ASMers).

Fundamentally, there is need to explore how well ASMers must are reinvesting this unsustainable income streams to promote the development of small to medium enterprises. Opportunities need to be tapped for local development of upstream or backward linkages like fabrication of equipment used in ASGM; and downstream or forward linkages like jewellery making.

Government must put in place a policy framework which enables local participation in the ownership structures of large scale miners considering incomes generated by ASMers. Yes, Zimbabwe must be open for business and locals should not be left out in this agenda in the name of attracting FDIs whilst overlooking local investment potential.

Diversification Linkages
Income generated from ASGM is also useful to diversify rural economies from unsustainable mining activities because minerals are a finite resource. Government, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and development partners must invest in educating ASMers the importance of diversifying from mining activities.

It is common to hear stories of ASMers who are poor now because their once rewarding mining pits are no longer profitable. As such, ASMers should be encouraged to invest in sustainable economic activities like agriculture and manufacturing. Cattle ranching, irrigation farming and manufacturing of personal protective equipment and school uniforms are some of the opportunities that can be tapped.

Conclusion
Some mineral deposits are not viable for large scale mining. ASGM, therefore, cannot be wished away if Zimbabwe is to enable optimal utilisation of the country’s mineral resources. Because ASGM is not sustainable, it offers a window of opportunity to leverage on over half a billion dollars generated by ASGM to promote linkages, investments and diversification for sustainable rural economies.

There is no need to look at ASGM and agricultural livelihoods in silos for instance. Opportunities to co-create value should be harnessed, command agriculture can spur growth of ASGM. Income generated from ASGM is a huge opportunity to encourage community enterprise development.

Celebrating AMI At 10: Harnessing Social Media Power To Change Lives

Celebrating AMI At 10: Harnessing Social Media Power To Change Lives
As part of preparations to celebrate the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) movement at 10, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) is profiling most significant change stories.  This story involves Blessing Hungwe, an artisanal and small-scale miner (ASMer), whose testimony on challenges faced by women miners in Guruve was share on social media – youtube during the 3rd edition of the Great Dyke AMI held on 03 and 04 June 2015 at Nichrut lodge in Shurugwi. Sometimes change comes from the unlikeliest stories. The Great Dyke AMI was organised by Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) in partnership with Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) and Zimbabwe Coalition On Debt and Development (ZIMCODD).

Thanks partly to Blessing’s testimony on youtube, women miners in Guruve are getting support from International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Africa Development Bank (ADB) to establish their own gold milling centre. Blessing was selected by Ministry of Women Affairs to represent women miners during the Commission on Status of Women 61 (CSW) that was held in New York in 2017. From being a district chairperson of Guruve women in mining, she is now a national leader of women in mining association under the Ministry of Women Affairs. Currently, Blessing is working to amplify concerns of women miners using social media to make it difficult for government, corporates and development agencies to ignore women voices.

 In her compelling testimony, available on youtube, Blessing revealed prohibitive costs of doing business for women. For example, walking over 10 km to access mining areas because of poor road network, and paying 30 grams of gold to access gold milling services located not less than 250 km away. Further, $4000 is needed upfront to get an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate, a requirement to commence mining. The bulk of the EIA costs – $3,500 is paid to a consultant.

Because Blessing Hungwe’s testimony was shared on youtube, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) picked her story online and referred her to Ministry of Mines as one of the prospective candidates to represent women during CSW61 held last year in New York.  Blessing participated at the CSW61 after she was successfully interviewed by Ministry of Women Affairs.

“Initially I did not know that my testimony was posted on youtube until I was told by UNDP personnel that is where they picked my story. Later, ILO came to Guruve to verify the challenges faced by women miners in Guruve based on the testimony that was shared on youtube. Now, ILO with the support of Africa Development Bank (ADB) have pledged to assist Guruve women miners with a gold mill. So far, an entrepreneurship training was done involving 25 women, selected from 150 women who were interviewed.” Blessing Hungwe. 

She cherishes the power of social media as a tool to highlight the plight of women miners. Currently, she is working on a small documentary to profile how women miners in Kwekwe are highly exposed to mercury during processing and recovery of gold ore. Mercury use has adverse health and environmental impacts.

About AMI

In 2009, led by Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), formed the AMI as a space form mining affected communities to vocalise their concerns to government and corporates. AMI emerged as a response to missing community voices at the Mining Indaba, a regional event, where corporates and government meet annually in Cape Town to discuss mining investment opportunities and challenges in Africa. AMI has since bread its tentacles to at country level in the SADC region. In Zimbabwe, the national AMI started in 2012 and was cascade at provincial and district level in 2013.

 

By Mukasiri Sibanda

$5 Million Payment to Marange-Zimunya Trust: What We Need To Know

This article was original featured in the Business Weekly

After a false start, for Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust (CSOT), can the $5 million payment received from the Zimbabwe Diamond Consolidated (ZCDC) herald a new beginning for local economic and social development hinged on diamond mining activities? This is particularly so, considering that that revenue from Marange has been a toxic issue- the alleged missing $15 billion and dummy $50 million cheque for Marange Zimunya COST. Compellingly, a thorough examination of this latest development is a necessity to enhance better transparency and accountability in the management of mineral to bring into public limelight emerging opportunities and risks to enhance accountability.

By extending $5 million to Marange-Zimunya CSOT, ZCDC follows the footsteps of other large-scale miners especially in the platinum sector like Zimplats and Unki Mine who gave $10 million to CSOTs in their localities. That said, a year before the 2013 harmonised elections, a $50 million dummy check was handed to Marange-Zimunya CSOT which proved to be fool’s gold in the end. Unless, $5million paid to Marange-Zimunya is reflects in the organisation’s bank account, the past has taught us not to count our chicks before they are hatched.

 It is important to state that the softening of indigenisation laws have resulted in platinum and diamond sectors being the only ones to comply with 51% indigenous equity requirement. Ideally, ZCDC, a government owned entity, should have taken lead to cede 10% shares to Marange-Zimunya CSOT.

 As a player and regulator, government should lead by example on commitment to indigenisation. Perhaps this would have been a good sign that government is keen to compel diamond and platinum mining entities to cede 10% shares to CSOTs in their districts. Without shares, Marange-Zimunya CSOT will not be legally entitled to a share of profit generated by ZCDC. In the end, future payments if any to the CSOT will be voluntary and unpredictable.

Clarity is needed if the $5 million payment to Marange-Zimunya CSOT was an advance dividend, a dividend or donation. The fact that ZCDC’s audited financial statements are not publicly available, is a cause of concern. It is difficult to pick if ZCDC paid the $5 million out of its profits and whether the community received a fair share, 10% of ZCDC’s profits.

It is important for Marange-Zimunya CSOT to complement local development plans for Mutare Rural District Council (RDC). This will create synergies and manage the risk of CSOT expenditure being linked with political campaigns. Also, ZCDC should disclose how much local taxes the entity is paying to Mutare RDC to enhance local economic and social development. There is a risk that ZCDC may not be paying a fair share of local taxes to Mutare RDC and at the same time investing in public relations activities by paying Marange-Zimunya CSOT.  

Beyond the $5 million payment made to Marange-Zimunya CSOT, it is important for ZCDC and government to consider allocating claims for alluvial diamond mining. This is important because alluvial diamond mining is no longer economically viable for large scale mining, it makes sense to follow the African Mining Vision aspiration of promoting coexistence between artisanal and small-scale miners and large-scale miners. Zimbabwe can take a leaf from South Africa which has recently allocated mining claims to artisanal miners, the so called “zama zamas” which were operating illegal. If this is done, conflicts between ZCDC and illegal gold miners which are affecting peace in Marange will managed sustainably.

After a false start, for Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust (CSOT), can the $5 million payment received from the Zimbabwe Diamond Consolidated (ZCDC) herald a new beginning for local economic and social development hinged on diamond mining activities? This is particularly so, considering that that revenue from Marange has been a toxic issue- the alleged missing $15 billion and dummy $50 million cheque for Marange Zimunya COST. Compellingly, a thorough examination of this latest development is a necessity to enhance better transparency and accountability in the management of mineral to bring into public limelight emerging opportunities and risks to enhance accountability.

By extending $5 million to Marange-Zimunya CSOT, ZCDC follows the footsteps of other large-scale miners especially in the platinum sector like Zimplats and Unki Mine who gave $10 million to CSOTs in their localities. That said, a year before the 2013 harmonised elections, a $50 million dummy check was handed to Marange-Zimunya CSOT which proved to be fool’s gold in the end. Unless, $5million paid to Marange-Zimunya is reflects in the organisation’s bank account, the past has taught us not to count our chicks before they are hatched.

 It is important to state that the softening of indigenisation laws have resulted in platinum and diamond sectors being the only ones to comply with 51% indigenous equity requirement. Ideally, ZCDC, a government owned entity, should have taken lead to cede 10% shares to Marange-Zimunya CSOT.

 As a player and regulator, government should lead by example on commitment to indigenisation. Perhaps this would have been a good sign that government is keen to compel diamond and platinum mining entities to cede 10% shares to CSOTs in their districts. Without shares, Marange-Zimunya CSOT will not be legally entitled to a share of profit generated by ZCDC. In the end, future payments if any to the CSOT will be voluntary and unpredictable.

Clarity is needed if the $5 million payment to Marange-Zimunya CSOT was an advance dividend, a dividend or donation. The fact that ZCDC’s audited financial statements are not publicly available, is a cause of concern. It is difficult to pick if ZCDC paid the $5 million out of its profits and whether the community received a fair share, 10% of ZCDC’s profits.

It is important for Marange-Zimunya CSOT to complement local development plans for Mutare Rural District Council (RDC). This will create synergies and manage the risk of CSOT expenditure being linked with political campaigns. Also, ZCDC should disclose how much local taxes the entity is paying to Mutare RDC to enhance local economic and social development. There is a risk that ZCDC may not be paying a fair share of local taxes to Mutare RDC and at the same time investing in public relations activities by paying Marange-Zimunya CSOT.  

Beyond the $5 million payment made to Marange-Zimunya CSOT, it is important for ZCDC and government to consider allocating claims for alluvial diamond mining. This is important because alluvial diamond mining is no longer economically viable for large scale mining, it makes sense to follow the African Mining Vision aspiration of promoting coexistence between artisanal and small-scale miners and large-scale miners. Zimbabwe can take a leaf from South Africa which has recently allocated mining claims to artisanal miners, the so called “zama zamas” which were operating illegal. If this is done, conflicts between ZCDC and illegal gold miners which are affecting peace in Marange will managed sustainably.

After a false start, for Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust (CSOT), can the $5 million payment received from the Zimbabwe Diamond Consolidated (ZCDC) herald a new beginning for local economic and social development hinged on diamond mining activities? This is particularly so, considering that that revenue from Marange has been a toxic issue- the alleged missing $15 billion and dummy $50 million cheque for Marange Zimunya COST. Compellingly, a thorough examination of this latest development is a necessity to enhance better transparency and accountability in the management of mineral to bring into public limelight emerging opportunities and risks to enhance accountability.

By extending $5 million to Marange-Zimunya CSOT, ZCDC follows the footsteps of other large-scale miners especially in the platinum sector like Zimplats and Unki Mine who gave $10 million to CSOTs in their localities. That said, a year before the 2013 harmonised elections, a $50 million dummy check was handed to Marange-Zimunya CSOT which proved to be fool’s gold in the end. Unless, $5million paid to Marange-Zimunya is reflects in the organisation’s bank account, the past has taught us not to count our chicks before they are hatched.

 It is important to state that the softening of indigenisation laws have resulted in platinum and diamond sectors being the only ones to comply with 51% indigenous equity requirement. Ideally, ZCDC, a government owned entity, should have taken lead to cede 10% shares to Marange-Zimunya CSOT.

 As a player and regulator, government should lead by example on commitment to indigenisation. Perhaps this would have been a good sign that government is keen to compel diamond and platinum mining entities to cede 10% shares to CSOTs in their districts. Without shares, Marange-Zimunya CSOT will not be legally entitled to a share of profit generated by ZCDC. In the end, future payments if any to the CSOT will be voluntary and unpredictable.

Clarity is needed if the $5 million payment to Marange-Zimunya CSOT was an advance dividend, a dividend or donation. The fact that ZCDC’s audited financial statements are not publicly available, is a cause of concern. It is difficult to pick if ZCDC paid the $5 million out of its profits and whether the community received a fair share, 10% of ZCDC’s profits.

It is important for Marange-Zimunya CSOT to complement local development plans for Mutare Rural District Council (RDC). This will create synergies and manage the risk of CSOT expenditure being linked with political campaigns. Also, ZCDC should disclose how much local taxes the entity is paying to Mutare RDC to enhance local economic and social development. There is a risk that ZCDC may not be paying a fair share of local taxes to Mutare RDC and at the same time investing in public relations activities by paying Marange-Zimunya CSOT.  

Beyond the $5 million payment made to Marange-Zimunya CSOT, it is important for ZCDC and government to consider allocating claims for alluvial diamond mining. This is important because alluvial diamond mining is no longer economically viable for large scale mining, it makes sense to follow the African Mining Vision aspiration of promoting coexistence between artisanal and small-scale miners and large-scale miners. Zimbabwe can take a leaf from South Africa which has recently allocated mining claims to artisanal miners, the so called “zama zamas” which were operating illegal. If this is done, conflicts between ZCDC and illegal gold miners which are affecting peace in Marange will managed sustainably.

Marange diamond mining impacts are not limited to Marange and Zimunya areas. There is need to ensure that communities in Chimanimani and Buhera, who bear the brunt of mining impacts like pollution of Save and Odzi rivers should be left out on community benefit schemes from ZCDC.

Marange diamond mining impacts are not limited to Marange and Zimunya areas. There is need to ensure that communities in Chimanimani and Buhera, who bear the brunt of mining impacts like pollution of Save and Odzi rivers should be left out on community benefit schemes from ZCDC.

Marange diamond mining impacts are not limited to Marange and Zimunya areas. There is need to ensure that communities in Chimanimani and Buhera, who bear the brunt of mining impacts like pollution of Save and Odzi rivers should be left out on community benefit schemes from ZCDC.

Responsible Investments Campaign

 

1. Introduction
The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) is running a PAVE (Petition, Amplify Voices and Engage) campaign on Responsible Investments. The aim of the campaign is to ensure that local communities from resource-rich areas meaningfully benefit from the extraction of the natural resources. The manifesto of the current government is prioritizing economic development through foreign direct investment(FDI). Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Laws have been softened to improve Zimbabwe’s appeal to foreign investors. Whilst Zimbabwe is in need of FDI, there is a high likelihood that some of the investors may come from countries with poor human rights records. By emphasising on the issue of “Zimbabwe is open for business”, it is likely that the government may overlook issues of community beneficiation and violation of human rights in host communities. Against this background, ZELA’s campaign on Responsible Investments seeks to petition duty bearers, amplify community voices and engage duty bearers on responsible investment and human rights. ,

2. About the Campaign
The Responsible Investments campaign was launched in May 2018 during the Great Dyke Provincial Alternative Mining Indaba 2018. The campaign covers Zvishavane and Mutoko Districts. These areas are renown for extensive Chrome and Granite mining . ZELA’s PAVE campaign strategy gives power to the communities themselves to organise themselves and demand accountability from duty bearers .

3. Community members demands
The Zimbabwean government has entered into investment agreements with investors. One of the most talked about investment is the 4.2 Billion Platinum deal with Karo Resources . In light of the signing of investment agreements, host mining communities are calling for the following demands;

4.1. Mining Companies and Investors
• Invest in getting a social licence to operate. All mining companies must meaningfully engage communities from exploration to end of the mining project, respect human rights and cultural values of the communities and local employees, including exercising gender inclusion in all processes

4.2. The Environmental Management Agency
• Safeguard the environment and ensure funds for environmental rehabilitation are set aside and used for this purpose before, during and after mining operations.
• Provide easy access to environmental information to mining-affected communities so that they can easily monitor compliance with Environmental Management Plans.

4.3. Rural District Councils
• Enhance social service delivery from mining taxes and royalties and publish what you receive from mining companies

4.4. Government
• Disclose Mining contracts with the relevant stakeholders and meaningfully engage rural district councils and mining-affected communities along the mining cycle. Put in place laws and policies that promote local employment and local enterprise development and/or enforce these laws and policies where they exist.

4.5. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission
• Investigate and act accordingly on time on human rights violations reports received from mining-affected communities effectively harnessing all powers and authority within the confines of the Constitution and ZHRC Act.
• Enable ease of access to ZHRC reporting mechanisms throughout the country.
• Influence quick adoption of frameworks like the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to contribute to improved economic, environmental and social justice

5. Notable Success
Since the campaign launch, the Government halted the mining of chrome on the road sides in Zvishavane. This was observed on the road linking Shurugwi and Zvishavane where chrome extraction was happening less than 10m away on either side of the tarred road.

6. To get involved
To get involved in the campaign, follow the hashtag #ResponsibleInv on Facebook and Twitter. We conducted radio interviews on Star FM. To listen to this recordings, follow the appended link. Please kindly visit our website and sign an online petition.

Radio Interviews: https://soundcloud.com/zela-information
Youtube Documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_cmxlprbX8&t=415s
Twitter Campaign:#ResponsibleInv
Photo Gallery: https://www.flickr.com/photos/142795511@N08/albums
Online Petition: https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/responsible-investments-campaign#.W5dhoMnljTQ.twitter

ZAMI’s ASM National Action Plan

During the 7th of the Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba (ZAMI), Pact and the Zimbabwe Environment Law Association (ZELA) organised a breakaway session on Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining on 11 October 2018, at Holiday Inn, Bulawayo. The ZAMI was held under the theme “Accountable and Transparent Governance of Mineral Resources: Safeguarding Development Interest of Local Communities in Mining Sector Reforms.” Participants comprised of artisanal and small-scale miners (ASMers) from key gold producing districts in Zimbabwe, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Women Empowerment Bank and Zimbabwe School of Mines, the Zimbabwe Mining Federation (ZMF) executive and a group of researchers on resource nationalism from Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Canada under York University, Canada. Below is an action plan that emanated from the ASM dialogue;

  • To promote grassroots participation in mineral resource governance reforms, the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, The Gold Trade Act and Precious Stones Act, as highlighted by the State of the Nation Address (SONA)’s legislative agenda for the 9th Parliament. Key asks of AMSers and communities must be documented for each mining district and consolidated at national level for presentation to Parliament. The laws should decriminalise artisanal mining.

 

  • To ensure that ASM because the centrepiece of government agenda on resource nationalism to ensure the communities are not dislocated from carrying out mining activities. This is in line with Section 13 (4) of national development which compels the State to put in place mechanism to ensure communities benefit from resources in their localities.

 

  • The Finance Act of 2018 which reserved artisanal mining for indigenous players must have a definition on what constitute artisanal mining. The reform of the principal legislation governing the mining sector, the Mines and Minerals Act must embrace artisanal mining to support the Finance Act’s position.

 

  • ASM should be opened in all mineral sectors. Government must open space for ASM in Marange diamond fields to ensure equitable exploitation of the diamonds.

 

  • The gold development loan facility should include empowerment objectives to enable financial support to poor and marginalised ASMers. It is commendable that RBZ has set aside $20 million for women and the relaxation of collateral requires. However, it is disturbing to note that only 255 entities or individuals benefited from $74 million disbursed in 2017 according to the 2018 Monetary Policy Statement (MPS). This translate to an average loan size of $290,000 per individual. An amount which is 10 times more than the average loan size require for basic mechanisation and input support of many ASMers. Therefore, RBZ must allocate a significant portion of the gold development facility to boost productivity of poor ASMers.

 

  • Fiscal support on exploration should be given to ASMers to ensure that their mining business activities are weaned from gambling. Also, this augurs well for the country’s quest to earn more foreign currency from ASM sector. With exploration, the geological risks associated with ASM will be lowered to unleash opportunities for increased investment into the sector.

 

  • There is need to unpack what the 100 tonnes of annual gold production by 2023 mean in terms of sustainable and integrated rural economic development as envisioned by Africa Mining Vision. Currently, there seems to be a huge disconnect between buoyant gold production in the ASM sector well-being of key gold producing communities.

 

  • RBZ fund should be used to maximise backward linkages in the ASM sector, local production of machinery, goods and services to improve the development dividend from the sector.

 

  • The Zimbabwe Miners Federation should be made a statutory body and get fiscal support to facilitate mobilisation and organisation of ASMers to engage better with policy makers and other key stakeholders for responsible and profitable growth of the ASM sector.

 

  • ASMers should document and tell their own stories to counter negative publicity fuelling public perception the sector should be outlawed.

 

  • A case study is needed to understand how big the threat is posed by Chinese investors in the ASM sector.

 

  • Legal aid should be offered in the ASM sector to bring civil suits to perpetrators of violence – machete wielding gangs. Suing them for medical bills, loss of income and pain will help to curb the violence which has gotten out of hand.

SONA: Do I Smell A Breath of Fresh Air on Mineral Resource Governance Reforms?

Introduction

A country that is endowed with diverse and significant mineral wealth is crippled socio-economically. Cholera outbreak – a mediaeval disease, severe foreign currency shortages, inferior tax revenue inflows and high levels of corruption are all signs that mineral benefits are not shared with citizens. Several mining mega deals were sealed this year, yet the public is not aware whether the deals are good or bad for sustainable development. Hence the deep urge to scan the State of the Nation Address (SONA), for nuggets, if any, on mineral resource governance reforms which are critical to the reversal this curse. The SONA was delivered by the President on Tuesday, 18 September 2018, during the first session of the 9th Parliament of Zimbabwe.

Re-tabling of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill

For every long time, much needed reforms to the Mines and Mineral Act have proved to be elusive, even though the country’s socio-economic prospects are hinged on mining. This time around, the President signature was the missing link to give life to the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill passed towards the end of the 8th Parliament. Seeing the inadequacy of the Mines and Mineral Amendment Bill, among other gaps, online registration of mining rights and titles, the Bill was referred to Parliament by the President. A massive opportunity for Government to comprehensively align the bill with Africa Mining Vision (AMV) and the Constitution, to harness mining for broad based socio-economic development.

One major issue which requires priority is the alignment of the Bill with Section 315 (2) (c) of the Constitution which requires Parliament oversight during negotiation and performance monitoring of mining contracts. Such a development will mitigate the risk of signing bad deals which do not yield a greater development dividend from mining – schools, hospitals, roads and industries. If government is serious about fighting corruption and to mobilise resources to deliver quality health and education services, a strong dosage of contract transparency is a necessity. All mega deals that were signed this year should be made public and Parliament oversight role should not be undermined.

Focus on small scale mining

It is noteworthy that the President highlighted that government will continue to support mechanisation of the small-scale mining sector to improve productivity. Government must go beyond mechanisation to support exploration which is the life blood of any mining activity. Ease of doing business reforms are necessary to ensure that small scale mining is not criminalised through huge compliance costs. For instance, $1,000 is required to get permits to purchase and store explosives. Attention should also be paid to artisanal miners to ensure a conducive policy and legal environment that recognise this important source of livelihood for many Zimbabweans. Over 500,000 are directly involved in artisanal mining. There is urgent need to curb wanton violence that seems to be the order of the day in artisanal and small scale gold mining.

Artisanal and small-scale miners are indispensable players in that they exploit resources that are not economically viable for large scale mining. Further, small scale mining offers opportunities for job creation, income generation and community enterprise development.

Curbing leakages of precious minerals

To curb the leakage of precious minerals, the Gold Trade Bill and the Precious Stones Trade Bill will be tabled before Parliament. Currently, the Minerals and Border Control Unit (MBCU) laments the fact that most smugglers of precious minerals are acquitted by the courts. This anomaly must be addressed by making the laws water tight. It is also crucial to align the Gold Trade Act with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s policy on buying gold on no questioned asked basis. Government, therefore, must work on a special permit for artisanal mining to ensure that artisanal mining is not criminalised. Another issue which deserves attention is the provision of incentives to whistle-blowers who provides credible information critical to stop the smuggling of precious minerals.

Broadening the range of minerals exploited

Boasting of over 40 known minerals that can be exploited economically, the drawback is that the country’s mineral performance is concentrated in a few minerals. Gold, platinum, chrome, diamonds and nickel account for 90% of the country’s export earnings. It is remarkable to note that the President acknowledged the importance of broadening the basket of minerals being exploited. A move fundamental to unleash mining potential to propel broad based socio-economic development. Naturally, high valued mineral easily grab the attention of policy makers because they rake in more export earnings and tax revenue. Yet, the so-called development minerals, which are low valued but with greater economic linkages are easily neglected. Development minerals are used in agriculture and construction sectors, phosphorous, limestone and iron among others.

Institute for Research, Innovation and Development

The Africa Mining Vision prioritises research, innovation and development to spur mining sector development. One of the main areas for research and innovation which deserves priority is clean technologies that efficiently substitute the use of mercury to recover gold. Ministry of Mines has projected that 100 tonnes of gold will be produced annually by 2023. This points to an impending disaster if government does not drive development of gold recovery solutions which eliminates mercury use. Mercury is dangerous to health and environment.

Conclusion

It is certainly encouraging that the President promised several reforms which have strong implications on mineral resource governance, a sweet smell. Hopefully, Parliament will move with speed, consult publicly with stakeholders and come up with resource governance laws that domesticate the aspirations of the Africa Mining Vision. Parliament oversight on negotiation of mining contracts as well as performance monitoring of mining contracts is a deal breaker. If this is not urgently done, fragile public trust in the new government will shatter.

Mining nuggets of development wisdom from an Artisanal and Small-Scale Miner

Mrs Ncube showing Farayi Mujeni her gold mining operation 

 

Introduction 

According to the Africa Mining Vison (AMV), Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) is an integral part of mining.  The sector is critical for optimal exploitation of mineral resources because some deposits are not economically viable for large scale mining. Nuggets of development wisdom that can be mined from Mrs Ncube, a determined small-scale miner from Bubi district helps to explain why ASM sector is viewed positively by AMV. Mrs Ncube’s lived realities shows that the ASM sector is the silver lining that Zimbabweans must look closely when watching the dark socio-economic cloud engulfing Zimbabwe – scarce employment shortages, acute foreign currency shortages and unsustainable economic contribution from mining. Mrs Ncube’s experiences are an important encouragement to many women seeking to surmount impediments for women participation in ASM. Profiling voices of artisanal and small-scale miners is part of the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA)’s agenda to document and share experiences amongst peers and to inform policy makers on ASM levers for sustainable development.

Resource nationalism spirit evident in the ASM sector. Government has supported with primary resources, control of land for agriculture and minerals for mining. Of course, our challenge is access to capital and how to grow our entrepreneurial skills. We have a strong starting point though. Resource nationalism enhances community control of natural resources and it seeks to maximise community benefit from mining activities. It is heartening to know that artisanal mining is a reserved sector for indigenous people.

However, the principal mining legislation, the Mines and Minerals Act must be reformed to accommodate artisanal mining, a critical tool for enhancing equitable distribution of mining benefits. Government must not get carried away with announcing mega investment deals in the mining sector, the Constitution, Section 13 (4) requires the State to innovate and deliver optimal benefits to communities from the exploitation of resources in their localities. The softening of indigenisation and economic empowerment framework brings to fore the importance of empowering communities through ASM. Indigenisation, transfer of 51% shareholding to indigenous partners is now limited to diamond and platinum sectors only.

Reversing the trend on migration to South Africa – ASM a factor. Limited employment opportunities have forced Zimbabweans to migrate to South Africa in search for greener pastures. This trend is being reversed, to some extent, by employment and income generation opportunities linked to buoyant artisanal and small-scale gold mining. Mrs Ncube managed to woo her brother– a father of six, from South Africa who was doing landscaping to come and mange her mining business. His brother is paying school fees for his children. He managed to buy a housing stand in Bulawayo from Old mutual and a car as well. Altogether, Mrs Ncube employs fifty-eight people, of which ten trekked back from South Africa. The workers are not salaried. Instead, they have a production sharing agreement with the owner.

Diversification is key. Aware that mining is not a sustainable venture, Mrs Ncube have used proceeds from mining to invest in livestock – cattle, goats and pigs. The goats include a special breed called Kalahari red bought from South Africa. Mrs Ncube is also into chicken production. She constructed a modern fowl run with capacity to produce 1,000 birds at one go. Government must learn from Mrs Ncube’s efforts to diversify. Contributing more than 60% to the country’s export earnings, mining’s huge economic footprint is a deadly disease which can be cured by diversifying the economy.

Water linkages between mining and farming important to explore. Mrs Ncube’s mine is in a farm with very rich soils. Bubi is one of the driest region in Zimbabwe. Opportunities to carry out irrigation farming from dewatering done at Mrs Ncube’s mine. Command agriculture, with a mandate to boost food production through irrigation should explore water linkages between mining and farming. If successfully implemented, water linkages between ASM and farming can catalyse sustainable and integrated economic growth in Bubi rural district. Although ASM and farming are generally viewed in silos and from a conflict relationship, harnessing water linkages has potential to mitigate farmer-miner disputes through value co-creation.

Sponsors, key players behind increased ASM gold production. In as much as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe provides runs a substantially funded loan scheme to help mechanise ASM to boost gold production, individual sponsors are indispensable fanciers too. From 3.9 tonnes of gold out in 2014, ASM gold production ballooned to 19 tonnes between January and September 2018. RBZ credits this phenomenal growth to its funding. According to the 2017 Monetary Policy Statement, Fidelity Printers and Refineries (FPR) disburse $74 million to 255 individuals or entities. Considering that they are over 500,000 people directly involved in ASM, RBZ’s support is clearly benefiting a few. This vacuum is being filled by sponsors like Mrs Ncube, who work with gold mine owners and workers to provide machinery, inputs, food and protective clothing.

Mrs Ncube uses generators at her mine. This erodes profitability and it worsens ASM’s environment footprint. The rural electrification levy is a consumptive levy geared to promote equitable access to power, a vital socio-economic enabler. Large scale mining companies are huge consumers of electricity which makes them significant contributors to the rural electrification fund. A portion of this fund must be allocated to support access to sustainable and cheaper power for ASMers to boost their productivity.

Hope for Justice: African perspectives on the negotiations for a binding instrument on business and human rights

Myness, 38, is one of the Chiadzwa residents who were forced off their land

when diamonds were discovered in her area.

By: Nyaradzo Mutonhori

This article originally featured on ACTIONAID Website

In every corner of Africa, the stories are similar. Death, hunger and rising poverty levels are the devastating outcomes induced by corporations in host communities. Contrary to the healthy, prosperous and wealthy society narratives often promised these communities by corporations, exposure to toxic wastes, loss of livelihoods, restrictions on mobility and massive environmental degradation become their actual lived realities. Active non-compliance and violation of environmental regulations by corporations on the one hand, coupled with wilful denial of the existence of these human rights violations by states on the other, ensure poor communities and especially women continue to bear the burden of the environmental cost of business over long time periods.

One of the communities that I work with is the relocated community of Arda Transau in Zimbabwe. Between 2009 and 2011, diamond miners in Zimbabwe relocated more than 700 families from Marange to Arda Transau, 40km north of the diamond fields. Since then, the community has been ravaged by death due to water-borne diseases caused by a lack of access to clean water and poor health services; food insecurity due to pollution and siltation of rivers by diamond miners; deteriorating education standards due to rising population and overcrowding. 

Women have been the worst affected. They now travel longer distances to fetch clean water and spend more time caregiving for those who fall ill with typhoid and cholera. Other social impacts include increase in sextortion, sometimes referred to as ‘transactional sex’, as women negotiate with the military and private security agents to enter Marange diamond concession in search of wild fruits and firewood to sell. Less than a decade later, their houses have started cracking and are literally falling apart. Before being relocated, the diamond miners and government promised the families adequate housing, jobs, tap water, clinics, schools, electricity and irrigated fields. 

Across Africa, when affected communities speak up and fight for their rights through filing administrative and judicial complaints, their quests for justice becomes an injustice in itself because of long delays in this process. When they organise and build movements in the communities resisting mining, they are arrested and criminalised and labeled economic saboteurs. When they build campaigns on the media and try to get a voice, governments close the space by deploying state security agents to quash community movements. 

Women Human Rights Defenders face malignant sexual harassment and intimidation for seeking justice for violations caused by the activities of corporations. When women from the Arda Transau community staged demonstrations demanding clean water, they were threatened with arrests and labeled ‘prostitutes’. When Arda Transau community organised into a community based group mobilising for members and the women organised women’s forum movements, the government accused the community of joining political opposition movement and closed all doors of engagement with the community group.

When the Arda Transau community initially resisted relocation in 2009, the police descended upon the community and warned them not to stand in the way of development. Despite this indirect threat, the Arda Transau community filed a High Court application seeking enforcement of Constitutional provisions on fair and adequate compensation and the right to title for the houses they were relocated to. It has been two years now and it is still unclear when the matter will be heard and judgment passed.

This week I joined more than 200 other civil society representatives from around the world at the UN in Geneva, where I represented ActionAid’s Africa Extractives Working Group. We have spent the week listening and intervening as our state representatives carried a round of negotiations on how to regulate the human rights impacts of business activities in international lawAn international instrument on business and human rights could give the Arda Transau community the chance to access justice outside of Zimbabwe, in the ‘home’ country of the mining corporation.

The binding instrument negotiations provide hope for justice for many of us in Africa. We have hope that if such an instrument comes into force, we – us and future generations – will have a good chance at justice for rights violations by corporations

We have seen those who oppose the binding instrument say the current draft is ambitious and imprecise. We know that the binding instrument will not be the silver bullet to solve all problems and rights violations by corporations in Africa, but we believe this binding instrument will give women human rights defenders power to continue seeking justice against violations. We believe the binding instrument will introduce preventive measures to help shield women from devastating impacts of the business of corporations on their bodies. The binding instrument will place measures to enable women’s voices to be heard by governments and corporations.

The reading of the zero-draft of the binding instrument on business and human rights is among the first historic steps taken towards a treaty. As I go back to Zimbabwe, I am reenergised to keep fighting alongside mining affected communities, and I call on all women’s rights activists to stand with women affected by corporate abuse to keep pressure upon their states and ensure the process doesn’t stop here.

Auditor General’s Report: Accountability Issues for ZCDC

Conglomerate diamond mining at ZCDC’s. Picture taken by Nyaradzo Mutonhori

The quest to bring improved transparency and accountability in the management of Marange diamonds – scandalously known for “missing $15 billion” birthed the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC). As the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), an organisation with solid interest in resource governance, we are compelled to sift the latest Auditor General’s report to have a better understanding of how well or bad is ZCDC managed for the benefit of all Zimbabweans.  After all, Chiri, the Auditor General is famed for digging out publicly data exposing the rot in the management of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs). Her reports were quite revealing on ZCDC’s predecessor in Marange, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC). Apart from sifting through the evidence provided by the Auditor General, the scope of this article covers audit areas that must be improved to hold to fully hold ZCDC accountable.

Stale audited report

Audited reports are an important health check on the performance of an entity. Mismanagement of resources, like any disease early detection, even better prevention is quite critical to ensure operational sustainability. Here we are in 2018, discussing audit findings from ZCDC’s 2016 annual financial report. A clear one-year unproductive fallow period, 2017, shows that we are dealing with stale information. This a clear violation of the Public Financial Management (Act).  The Act requires SOEs and government institutions to produce annual audited financial statements within six months after the end of each financial year. ZCDC’s predecessor in Marange, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) was notoriously known for producing outdated audited reports.

Apart from the Auditor General’s findings, there is no public record of ZCDC’s income statement and balance sheet. Citizens, therefore, have been denied the opportunity to know pertinent information like how much income did ZCDC generate in 2016. Considering that Zimbabwe is well behind on mineral revenue transparency best practice, the public does not have a clue how well ZCDC’s performance regarding taxes – royalties, customs duty, withholding taxes and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) among others. The same information can easily be publicly mined for Caledonia’s Blanket gold mine in Gwanda courtesy of Canada’s Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act.

ZCDC is in financial distress

The Auditor General noted that ZCDC Made a loss of $7, 445, 606, negative working capital amounting to $7, 981, 756 and a total negative equity of $7,445, 576. Even worse, ZCDC is owed $20,307, 027 by related companies – SOEs that have closed. A figure that could not be verified by the Auditor General. The fact that ZCDC’s owed $20 million by related companies shows that the mismanagement of SOEs is contagious. There is a huge risk that ZCDC could have been used as a conduit to milk public funds through propping up companies that have since closed.

Mine rehabilitation fund problematic

The “missing $15 billion” from Marange diamonds has attracted great public attention, overshadowing environmental issues, rehabilitation and mine closure. The Auditor General failed to verify the $11,068,975, a provision for rehabilitation of mines left by the companies that used to mine diamonds in Marange. ZCDC’s response was that an expert will be hired to establish the budget needed to rehabilitate the mines and funding will be requested from the shareholder – government. As a regulate and player in Marange diamond mining operations, the state should lead by example. Unfortunately, ZCDC is painting a different picture.

Poor corporate governance cited

The Auditor General noted the Audit and Risk committee and Human Resource and Remuneration committees were not constituted properly in line with best practice on corporate governance. The CEO and executive audit officer are part of the Audit and Risk committee, and the CEO and the human resource executive are part of the Human Resource and Remuneration Committee. A development that compromises the fundamental oversight role of such committees as well as bringing reputational risks. The President has repeatedly stated the desire to fight corruption, the scourge stifling Zimbabwe’s growth. This war cannot be achieved without good corporate governance.

Illegal diamond mining activities

The Auditor General’s report is silent on the widely reported illegal diamond mining activities in Marange. Such activities are a loss to ZCDC and ultimately, government. As part of audit preparations, the Auditor is required to gain an understanding of the context under which the entity that he or she is planning to audit is operating under. Recently, ZCDC announced that it is planning to empower the community through artisanal mining to curb illegal mining activities and attendant losses through smuggling of diamonds.

Business and human rights and the threat posed by synthetic diamonds

The business case, especially in the diamond sector is growing beyond profitability. Because diamond industry is all about global value chain systems, from mining, cleaning and sorting, marketing of rough diamonds, cutting and polishing, jewellery production and marketing, consumer behaviour cannot be ignored. Increasingly, diamond consumers are demanding that beauty of diamonds should be preserved by ethically sourced diamonds which deliver sustainable development to communities impacted by mining operations. The audit scope must have been broadened to include management of risks posed by failure of government and corporates to protect and respect human rights, and in case of violations to provide access to remedy – United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Notably, ZCDC has been ordered by the high court not to arbitrarily displace communities as required by the Section 74 of the Constitution. Pressure on ethical sourcing of diamonds has been piled up by the emergence of lab grown or synthetic diamonds which do not carry the burden of human rights violation linked to mining.

Legal risks and arrangements with companies displaced to pave way for ZCDC

ZCDC’s creation was blighted with legal challenges, companies like Mbada Diamonds, Anjin and Jinan taking to disputes to the courts. ZCDC failed to carry out mining activities in the disputed concessions. Consequently, ZCDC’s ability to optimise diamond production for the country’s benefit was affected. Along the way, it was announced that government is not negotiating with the affected companies to resolve the issue amicably.  Parliament oversight lacked during these negotiations as required by Section 315 (2) (c) of the Constitution. On 20 April, during the field visit by EU delegation, ZELA observed that the Chinese were fencing off claims formerly held by Anjin Investments. It was clear that ZCDC was not involved from the brief that we received from ZCDC’s top management. The Audit report must have ordinarily been alive to legal risks and the status of disputes between ZCDC and the companies that were forced to close to pave way for the new arrangement – this is a sustainability issue.

Conclusion

For an entity that was established to promote transparency and accountability in the management of Marange diamonds, the Auditor General’s report shows a false start for ZCDC. The entity’s audited report is lagging by one year, there is poor corporate governance, and a company that is in financial distress lending $20 million to related companies that are now closed. The Rehabilitation and mine closure fund issue is a timely reminder to government, we cannot talk of counting the benefits without fully accounting for costs of mining. In the diamond sector, value addition is not only about cutting and polishing, but embracing the UNGP on business and human rights. Consumers want diamonds that are ethically sourced, and diamonds which deliver sustainable development to communities. Areas that ZCDC and government are found wanting.

The Alternative Mining Indaba Movement Is Unstoppable

The Alternative Mining Indaba Movement Is Unstoppable

Mukasiri Sibanda with ZELA unpacking AMV to participants at Mutoko district AMI

As the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) revs up to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2019, Mutoko district AMI stands out amongst several achievements of the movement. Mutoko AMI stands out in that it was initiated by Mutoko Rural District Council, a marked departure from the norm where civil society organisations (CSOs) drive the process.

The indaba was held at Nyamakwere hotel, Mutoko centre from 13 to 15 June 2018. Participants comprised of mining affected communities, Community Based Organisations (CBOs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) traditional chiefs, local government officials, Ministry of Mines, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and Natural Stones- a mining company. Altogether, 95 people participated at the indaba, 22 women and 73 men. Here are five interesting things to note concerning the indaba.

Mutoko RDC was at the forefront of inviting stakeholders and crafting the agenda, through a participatory approach which involved CSOs. Hopefully, other resource rich RDCs will be inspired by Mutoko’s example to spread and strengthen the AMI movement in all corners of the country.

ZELA and Mutoko RDC are going to engage the Association of Rural District Councils of Zimbabwe (ARDCZ) to motivate other resource rich RDCs adopt or adapt the AMI movement. As a result, communities affected by mining will get a fair opportunity to strongly participate in the management of mineral resources in their localities.

Interest in Mutoko’s AMI is compounded by the fact that whilst Government is yet to hit top gear on implementation of the Africa Mining Vision (AMV), Mutoko community certainly view domestication of the AMV as a panacea to the resource curse.

“We will certainly adapt AMV as a guide to Mutoko RDC’s development plan hinged on the extraction of black granite resources” Peter Sigauke, Mutoko RDC CEO.

As if that is not enough, other CSOs have joined the bandwagon. CSOs like the Civic Forum on Human Development (CFHD) and Silveira House joined hands with Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) to support Mutoko’s AMI. Before this, ZELA, Zimbabwe Coalition On Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) and Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) were the only players driving AMI movement in Zimbabwe which begun in 2012.

Banana farmers saved from arbitrary eviction

WILLIE MAFUTA AND 26 OTHERS VERSUS PARKS AND WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY: A CASE OF HUMAN RIGHTS, LAND RIGHTS, EQUITABLE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT

INTRODUCTION

On the 7th of November 2018, the High Court of Zimbabwe made a ruling that the Vhimba people in Risitu, Chimanimani under Chief Ngorima in Chikware and Mapombere villages who had been issued with a 72 hours eviction notice should not be evicted from their homes as this would amount to unlawful and arbitrary evictions on the 27 families. A total of almost 300 people including children and women risked losing their livelihood in a blink of an eye.

Historically, the Vhimba people started losing their land in 1893 when the Pioneer Column reached what are now the Chimanimani and Chipinge Districts of Eastern Zimbabwe. Ever since then, it has been a struggle for Chief Ngorima’s people to retain their land. They lost their land from the colonial government in the 1890s, The Forest Commission in the 1950s, through the Chimanimani National Park in the 1960s and the creation of Botanical Gardens in the 1970s. The battle of retaining land by the Vhimba people continued into the post-colonial Zimbabwe and this was shown in the present case and now there seems to be a paradigm shift as rumours of gold discoveries in the area are becoming rampant.

FACTS LEADING TO THE CASE

The Vhimba community has occupied communal land with no title or ownership for over a century on record. The community is a banana farmer community who most of them were born in that industry having been born in banana farming families. They do not have any other source of income. From the year 1991, the community has had problems with Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority (Zim-Parks hereinafter referred to as the Respondent) whose Chimanimani Mountains National Park borders with their land. The community has lost most of its farming land to Zim-Parks following its unilateral alienation of land. In recent terms, in fact currently, the Respondent has been sending its officers to threaten the Vhimba community with eviction from their homesteads as it now claims to have the right to take over the land for its operations. One would be inclined to think that these are wildlife related operations. These however leave a lot to be desired as in Zimbabwe, communities living in wildlife areas have hardly been evicted in such a manner. Instead, a common ground to include them or to relocate them then include them in programmes like the famous CAMPFIRE have occurred in a number of districts around Zimbabwe. This strengthens the allegations of gold deposits being discovered in the area.

 On the 21st of October 2018, four (4) officers from Chimanimani Zim-Parks office gathered the Applicants and their families and advised them that they were giving them final notice to vacate the land and that they had to do so by the 25th of October 2018 failure which they were going to evict them using force. After expiry of the deadlines, the Respondent’s officers allegedly visited the villagers armed with AK47 assault rifles threatening the villagers that if they do not vacate the land they will be dealt with. This continued from the 25th until the last day of October. The Respondent’s officers even threatened to torch down the villagers’ homes and destroy their banana fields upon their return to evict them if they were to find them still in the area. Some of the villagers were even arrested and chained after being found in their fields after the deadline dates for eviction.

 

THE LEGAL ISSUES OF THE CASE

The Zimbabwean Constitution under Sec 74 guarantees freedom from arbitrary eviction. This freedom includes people’s freedom from eviction from their homes or have their homes demolished without an order of Court after the Court has made consideration of all the relevant circumstances of that matter. This was the main legal concern for the Vhimba case. Recently in The City of Harare versus Tawanda Mukungurutse SC 46/18 the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe reiterated this position. Also, at stake was the community’s right to human dignity as protected by section 51 of the Constitution. The Respondent had not first secured an Order of the Court authorising it to evict the Vhimba community from their land which it unilaterally claimed was its land. In the absence of such Court Order, any eviction would be enforced, unlawful and illegal eviction as the Court has not been given a chance to determine and consider all relevant circumstances of the matter to agree to a lawful eviction.

Lawyer Darlington Chidarara of ZELA reading & explaining to the Vhimba People their rights from the Constitution

ZELA’S INTEVENTION & THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CASE TO ZELA’s WORK

The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) heard of the Vhimba community’s plight and decided to take heed of the call to assist the Vhimba marginalised community. As a public interest organisation, ZELA’s vision is to attain environmental justice through sustainable and equitable utilisation of natural resources and environmental protection. In the spirit of that vision, ZELA moved in swiftly to assess the situation. After realising that the dispute of land rights and a possibility of the extractive industries pushing for an unlawful eviction to pave way for mining, ZELA realised that in light of the new Constitution and their vision, the case was worth a take. As per ZELA’s vision, the people of Vhimba have an abundance of natural resources in the form of woodlands, animals which they were found co-existing with by the Pioneer Column in 1893 not forgetting the recent gold deposits alleged to be in their area. This started their troubles as they were placed in reserves and since then have not enjoyed much of their natural resources. ZELA firmly believes in equitable utilisation of natural resources whereby the local people benefit from their locally found resources. The Vhimba community exist in an environment which allows them a huge capacity to earn them money from eco-tourism, birding experiences and the national park activities such as game drives and even controlled trophy hunting experiences and recently being part of the extractive industry if the gold deposits alleged are in existence. However, this has not been the case ever since the arrival of the Pioneer Column a century ago up until October 2018 as all the Vhimba people know are land grabs, unfair and unilaterally decided forced evictions, resource grabs and threats and poverty yet existing in a naturally resource rich environment. Their major natural resources have been nothing but a curse for them. These misfortunes could be changed if the relevant authorities engage the people of Vhimba and try to work on a model that can benefit and include the community rather than depriving the community which is what ZELA strongly believe in.  

COURT’S ORDER & SIGNIFICANCE

The Court held that the Respondent was interdicted and prohibited from arbitrarily evicting the Vhimba community. This means that if the Respondent is to evict the people of Vhimba then they must follow set procedures as held in the Mukungurutse case stated above by getting a Court Order. This means that a new opportunity for engagement has been opened to realise equitable distribution of resources for the Vhimba community which could develop Vhimba as a community rather than destroying it and driving it into conflict as has happened previously. A community of almost 300 people was saved from arbitrary eviction and were given a lifeline. Thanks to ZELA.

 

 

 

 

Is The Budget Forward-Looking On Effective Mineral Resource Governance?

Introduction
Shortly before the Finance Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube delivered his maiden national budget statement in Parliament, Bulawayo city was showered with rains. The Bostwana Pula, a strong and stable currency which literally means rain, immediately came to mind. Was this a good omen for Zimbabwe? a mineral rich country like Botswana, but with sharply contrasting economic trends. All because Botswana not squandering the depleting opportunity to development from exploitation of unrenewable mineral resources – diamonds mainly. Yet Zimbabwe, replete with diverse minerals – diamonds, platinum, chrome, gold, coal and lithium among others, is under a resource curse. Mineral wealth is not translating to improved living standards for most of its citizens.

Considering that multiple mining mega deals announced this year (2018), creating a conducive policy environment to unleash the potential propulsive development effect of mineral wealth was a deal breaker for the 2019 national budget. Now that the budget statement has been delivered, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) is duty bound to analyse the statement using tenets of good mineral resources as a benchmark – the Africa Mining Vision. ZELA’s interest is compounded because submissions were made to Parliament portfolio committee on mines and mining development. The submissions were made on 22 October 2018 during a multi-stakeholder consultation on expectations for the 2019 national budget statement by the committee.

Reconciliation of pre-budget public consultations and the national budget statements
On inclusive approach to development, Section 13 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe requires people to be involved in the formulation and implementation of development plans and programmes that affect them. Rightly so, pre-budget public consultations were done. In line with technological trends, use of social media to give a voice to citizens, the Minister of Finance took a step further by considering submissions made through social media – twitter, Facebook and blog. Remarkably, the Minister has an active personal twitter handle @MthuliNcube.
The submissions made by ZELA during the public pre-budget consultations were mainly harvested from the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMIs), held at district, provincial and national level. AMIs are multi-stakeholder platforms designed to strengthen solidarity and the voice of communities affected by mining. Therefore, mining affected communities have space to engage with stakeholders, government, Parliament and business on their concerns, largely Environment, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (EESCRs).

Mineral revenue transparency
During the pre-budget public consultations, we demanded that the budget must embrace the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) or resuscitate Zimbabwe Mineral Revenue Transparency Initiative (ZMRTI) – a home grown version of EITI which failed to take off in 2011. Transparency in the mining sector is fundamental to allow citizens connect the dots between mega deals and sustainable development and hold government and investors to account. Commendably, the 2019 national budget statement expressed urgent desire by government to join EITI. Behind the scenes, ZELA gave advice to the Ministry of Finance on the four steps required to join EITI. The Sign-Up Phase; The Preparatory Phase; The Disclosure Phase; and The Dissemination Phase. The sign-up step is the first phase in joining the EITI. It is the period when the Government must demonstrate its seriousness about the EITI by;
• Issuing an unequivocal statement of its intention to support EITI implementation
• Making a commitment to work with Civil Society and companies on EITI implementation. EITI is a tripartite arrangement including business, Civil Society Organisations and Government
• Appointment of a senior individual to lead the EITI effort
• Developing and publishing a costed work plan, with measurable targets and timeframes for implementation, and assessment of any constraints on the capacity of stakeholders to participate.
By expressing commitment to join EITI through the 2019 national budget statement, government has taken the first step. A long road lies ahead. But, as they say, a journey of thousand miles begin with a single step. It must not be lost that this is not the first time that government expressed commitment through national budget statements to embrace EITI or resuscitate ZMRTI without any traction. This time around, our enthusiasm is fuelled by our partnership with Parliament, especially, the portfolio committee on mines and mining development which requested a training workshop on EITI. Further, we have started to engage ZIMRA and Ministry of Finance on capacity building around EITI.
Below is a quick scan several media articles heralding our demand for transparency in the mining sector;
ZBC,08 November 2018, Enhance mining sector transparency, govt urged http://www.zbc.co.zw/govt-urged-to-implement-extractive-industry-transparency-initiative/; The Source, 09 April 2018, Who Stands To Benefit From The 4.2 Platinum Deal https://source.co.zw/2018/04/who-stands-to-benefit-from-the-4-2bln-platinum- deal/; 263 Chat, Contract Transparency Critical To Enable Public Accountability In The Extractive Sector https://263chat.com/contract-transparency-critical-enable-public-accountability-extractive-sector/

Funds for a computerised mining title management system or mining Cadastre
Strangely, a country with development plans hinged on mining does is using an archaic mining title management system which encourages corruption and claim ownership disputes. Of course, transparency is viewed as toxic by policy makers who thrives on the opaqueness in the mining sector. By allocating $1,8 million and promising to prioritise foreign currency allocation for a computerised mining system, a foundation has been laid to bring sanity to the management of mining claims. We commend the Minister for the positive response to one of our key asks during the pre-budget public consultations.

Through ZELA’s participation in the mining Technical Working Group (TWG) on ease of doing business in 2017, the Ministry of Mines had indicated that $2 million is needed to fully computerise the mining title management system. Certainly, the budget of $1.7 million will go a long way to make the project feasible. Through the Parliament portfolio committee on mines and mining development, the public must pressure the Ministry of Mines to ensure implementation of the computerised title management system. Tracking the disbursement of funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) to the Ministry of Mines and expenditure reports from the Ministry will indicate whether the programme is on track or not.
Sovereign Wealth Funds
The budget made a commitment to operationalise the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF). This Fund is important to allow intergenerational sharing of resources as required by constitutional principles on public financial management, Section 298 (1) (c). One source of resourcing the SWF is compliance with the obligation to allocated 25% of mineral royalties to the SWF. Monitoring income from royalties into the CRF and disbursement made to the SWF is one area that civil society must work together with Parliament on budget tracking.
Dealing with mining claims that are held for speculative purposes
Whilst we commend the Minister for the intentions to unlock Zimbabwe’s mineral potential to catalyse sustainable development, the budget fell short of meeting one of our demands on competitive bidding to dispose released claims. Competitive bidding brings transparency in the allocation of mining claims with huge mineral wealth potential, a critical mitigation to corruption risk. Further, competitive bidding creates opportunities for choosing an investor who offers a greater development dividend from mining – taxes, skills development, technology transfer, infrastructure and development of local supply chains. This year, Zimplats released nearly 24,000 hectares of platinum claims which were secretly transferred by government to Karoo resources without competitive bidding.

Accounting for tax incentives
As part of the Tax Justice campaign, ZELA sounded like a broken record on the need to weed out harmful over generous tax incentives which weakens government’s fiscal muscle from the exploitation of minerals.

Extracted from GOXI weekly blog http://goxi.org/profiles/blogs/weekly-goxi-1
Therefore, ZELA is excited to note that the budget proposed “…… develop tax incentives monitoring and evaluation framework to facilitate the management of timed tax expenditures as well as to inform Cost Benefit Analysis of tax expenditures by Treasury, on an annual basis, with effect from 1 January 2019….” As illustrated by the table below, to be effective, the framework should factor in the discount factor to tax revenue brought by export incentiveswhich have negatively discounted mining royalty income over the past two and half years.
Comparative analysis of mining royalties and mining export incentives

Linkages between loans to ASM and environment rehabilitation
The budget statement called for linkages between funding to the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) sector from Fidelity Printers and Refineries (FPR) and Mining Loan Fund (MLF). Although the MLF is no longer operational, FPR has increased its funding from $20 million to $150 million this year. Increased ASM gold output from 3.9 tonnes in 2014 to 19 tonnes from January to September 2019 is mainly attributed to funding from RBZ. Much as ASM is critical source of livelihood, the threat posed to the environment and sustainability of other socio-economic activities like agriculture is cannot be ignored. Innovation is key. RBZ runs an export incentive scheme for gold producers. This scheme can be adopted or adapted to come up with an incentive scheme for rehabilitation. RBZ can also provide critical rehabilitation equipment to key gold producing districts.

Conclusion
By embracing EITI, a world best practice on transparency in the mining sector; Allocating resources for a computerised mining title management system; Developing a framework to monitor and evaluate the cost and benefit of tax incentives and promoting linkages between funding to ASM sector; and Enhancing linkages between funding to ASM sector and environment rehabilitation, the 2019 national budget is certainly forward looking on effective resource governance. Implementation is key. Civil society and Parliament should play a critical oversight role to ensure implementation.

Bubi Provincial Alternative Mining & Local Economic and Social Development Indaba

The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) together with Bubi Small-Scale Miners Association (BSSMA) conducted the Matebeleland North Local Economic and Social Development Provincial Alternative Mining Indaba held in Bulawayo. The Indaba was run under the theme TRANSFORMING ARTISANAL SMALL-SCALE MINERS TO SUSTAINABLE SMALL TO MEDIUM MINING INDUSTRY WITH A FOCUS OF CREATING EMPLOYMENT”. The Indaba was held primarily to improve avenues for engagement between natural resource dependent communities, local and national government and the private sector stakeholders for improved service delivery. Various stakeholders, among them the Member of Parliament for Bubi Constituency, the BSSMA executive and membership, Bubi RDC, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Fidelity Printers and Refineries (FPR), Agritex officials, Environmental Management Agency (EMA), the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) representatives and small-scale supplying companies attended the Indaba.

Issues that relates to the operations of Artisanal Small-scale Miners and as well as the grassroots participation in budget consultations were central to the interface with stakeholders during the Indaba. The ZMF Matebeleland North chair lady gave a key note speech anchored on aligning our mining activities to the African Mining Vision (AMV) which calls for transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and socio-economic development. Resources are finite, and this calls for a sustainable approach in how the ASM operations are done. One of the ways through which ASM operations can be sustainable is through exploring and maximising the synergies and linkages between mining and other sectors like agriculture. She also spoke of the need by the miners to take mining as a business venture, where they are not only profit driven but rather invest for sustainability.

The Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba (ZAMI) side session on ASM and commemorating Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) @10 declarations were also shared during the proceedings. The declarations were that the Government should come up with an enabling policy and legal environment for community control and optimal benefits from mining through Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining. This is in line with Section 13 (4) on national development which requires the state to put in place mechanism to ensure communities benefit from resources in their localities. Government should ensure optimal linkages between increased ASM gold production and sustainable rural economic growth and broad based socio-economic development. There is urgent need to explore innovative mechanism to deal with wanton violence taking place in ASM. For instance, use of civil suits to compensate for medical expenses, pain and loss of income and counseling services for the victims.

The Fidelity Printers and Refineries (FPR) presentation on financial support to ASM: special facility to Women focused on how miners especially women in mining can tap into the current initiatives by the FPR that are aimed at assisting ASM operations, for example the loan facility. Through the Gold Development Initiative Fund (GDIF), which is administered by the FPR, created by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the emphasis is on enhancing economic productivity through the promotion and development of gold mining industry in Zimbabwe. The loan facility is primarily for the acquisition of gold mining plant and equipment to enhance gold production by miners. The loan facility targets all gold producers.

Discussions on participatory budgeting & service delivery issues were centered on chapter 17 section 298(1) para (a) to (f).

The Constitution of Zimbabwe (2013) Chapter 17 section 298(1) para (a) to (f) talks of principles that guides all aspects of public finance in Zimbabwe. Communities (citizens) participation in budget consultations are only enhanced with greater understanding of the Public Financial Management principles. Section 298(1) para b (i, ii, iii) clearly states that the burden of taxation must be shared fairly, equitably between the central government and provincial and local tiers of government and the expenditure must be directed towards the development of Zimbabwe and special provision must be made for marginalised groups and areas.

As communities, they should be able to interrogate issues of transparency and hold the local authorities to account when it comes to budget expenditures as provided for in Chapter 17 section 298(1) para (d) and (e) that public funds must be expended transparently, prudently, economically and effectively and that financial management must be responsible, and fiscal reporting must be clear…. Only then, their participation in such processes are meaningful and bring about the desired effect of socio-economic development. The RDC official said that its a good opportunity that the communities are going through the process of interrogating transparency and accountability issues through understanding Public Financial Management principles… This will aid in enriching council budget consultative meetings…

On harnessing mining sector for sustainable local & economic development, the participants were put into groups focusing on education, health and infrastructure clusters. The education cluster interrogated the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) which they said its poorly administered and has not been coming/provided for the past 2 years. Statistically, Bubi District have 53 primary schools of which 31 are registered and 22 unregistered, 17 secondary schools of which 9 are registered and 8 satellite schools. There are +/-20 000 learners from these learning institutions, of which 16 000 are primary learners and 4 000 are secondary learners. From these learners, BEAM caters for 455 secondary learners, 199 males and 256 female learners; and 1215 primary learners, 520 males and 695 female learners. The government policy of 1987, revised in 1996 states that government shall built schools 5 km away from each other to ease the distance traveled by the children, but children are still traveling long distances to school.

The health cluster pointed out that there are no adequate facilities and personnel as well as the medicines. There is very limited knowledge/awareness about the HIV/AIDS and spread of STIs around centers of gold production. The limited health facilities that are found in the district are concentrated on the western parts of the district and this result in other community members traveling long distances to access such facilities.

The infrastructure cluster interrogated issues of roads, water, electrification and communication system. Council as a tax collector we are collecting very little from the community. This reduces our capacity as council to deliver good and quality service. This compromises our performance in this area of roads. Equipment is a challenge as well. Most of the money that is meant to maintain roads is spent on hiring equipment. In Bubi some of rural communities have no access to portable water and water for our livestock. We need water for irrigation schemes.

The Member of Parliament of Bubi Constituency gave the closing remarks and vote of thanks. The Hon appreciated and commended the efforts ZELA is doing in making resources in Bubi work and transform the lives of the people of Bubi. He emphasized the need for working together amongst stakeholders for a shared and inclusive socio-economic development.