Josphat Makaza -Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (A member of Publish What You Pay Zimbabwe)
29 March 2022
Following calls by civil society groups and community-based organisations that the government through the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company ZCDC should conduct a mine site self-assessment test, the diamond mining company has adhered to and begin aligning its operations with the concept.
If completed ZCDC will be the second mining company in Zimbabwe after Unki Mine to conduct the Investment for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA)independent audit.
The audit will include a desk review and onsite visits to the mine that applies for assessment as well as stakeholder engagement in the verification process.
Under IRMA it is a mine site that gets certified not the company.
In separate interviews with ZCDC officials recently, the officials explained that in their efforts to improve the diamond company operations and performance in Zimbabwe and outside the region the ZCDC had considered taking the bull by its horns.
“The process will begin with mines completing a self-assessment and uploading the evidence into a mine measure and an independent third-party assessment stage may begin”, said ZCDC.
The officials explained that they had engaged Unki Mine on IRMA best practices and on how they can domesticate the initiative.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development, Honorable Edmund Mukaratigwa confirmed the development when he visited Chiadzwa during the KPCS monitoring mission.
The Minister said ZCDC is racing towards the best global diamond producing entity meant to promote responsible mining investment.
They had adopted IRMA and their mission is to protect communities and the environment directly affected by mining he said.
IRMA was founded in 2006 by a coalition of non-governmental organisations, business purchasing minerals and metals for resale in other products , affected communities, mining companies and labor unions.
The communities in Marange have pinned their hopes on IRMA saying if it is successfully initiated the concept promotes access to information and public participation in the extractive sector.
The communities explained that mining has caused social and environmental harms and feels the move by ZCDC is a positive step in reducing conflict between the mine and host communities. They said IRMA act as a social accountability tool and urged the mine to stop procrastinating.
In mineral resource governance, access to information on public resources empowers and equips citizens in their social accountability role.
According to the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association the IRMA standards strength lies in the authentic engagement of both corporate and civil society stakeholders, and its commitment to raising the bar on environmental and human rights standards.