The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development through its chairperson, Hon E Mkaratigwa. highlighted the central role the amendment to the Mines and Mineral Act had to the sector at a stakeholders conference in Harare.
While existent efforts to address the challenges within the mining sector had seen constitutional reforms despite the long needed overhaul, the sector experienced challenges that called for reform.
This Bill intents to reform the reform the mining laws in the country and this process has been envisaged with minimum success over a long period. Attempts to amend the Bill was notably made in 2007 and 2018…The mining sector is currently the anchor of our economy and it is already contributing around 70 percent of the country’s export receipts in addition to around 8 percent of our total GDP.
The sector was further viewed as a cog to Zimbabwe’s demographics and other sectors’ existence while the draft bill was commended for including the local people in all mining investment’s within their geographical location’s despite being vague unlike it’s predecessor the controversial Indiginous Economic Empowerment position.
“Foreign currency generated from the mining sector has been vital in supporting several Budget Votes inclusive of those for health, education and other social services and goods which are part of our budget.”
While it remained key to Zimbabwe’s history and geographics and demographics that “Several towns in Zimbabwe have emerged as a result of mining and vivid examples are Kwekwe, Shurugwi, Mhangura and Zvishavane among others.” Mkaratigwa further emphasised.
Furthermore, “Part of the conditions are that the State and affected communities should have a defined interest or stake in the exploitation of these minerals. This is clearly set out in Clause 6(4)(b) of the Bill and this resonates well with section 13 (4) of the Constitution” Hon Mkaratigwa further said.
Issues raised by stakeholders included the vague allocation of artisanal mining by the draft, calls to allow Ministry of Mines Official’s to own mines after declaring thier mining interest’s, need for a defined environmental management plan in the bill among other calls.
The Bill will soon undergo public hearings before it is retabled to Parliament and Senate before the President signs it into law, as he hinges on a US$12 Billion Mining Strategy that has seen the opening of gas, iron, rare earth metals, lithium exploration in Zimbabwe.
The Assistant Attorney General, Mr Dias called upon all stakeholders and the general public to take part in national policy formulation processes as the laws would affect them in the long or short term.
The meeting was attended by Mining Institutions including, Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines, Zimbabwe Miners Federation, Zimplats, Mimosa, Artisanal Mining Representatives, . Environmentalists among other key stakeholders.