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This article participates on the following special index pages:
Marange, Chiadzwa and other diamond fields and the Kimberley Process - Index of articles
and accountability in the extractive sector vital in unlocking economic
benefit for all
Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association
March 04, 2012
On the occasion
of Africa Environment Day, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association
(ZELA) wishes to call upon government and companies to be transparent
and accountable in the governance of natural resources. Good governance
of Zimbabwe's natural resources ensures that current and future
generations benefit from the rich natural resources in the country.
An important tenet of good governance is transparency and accountability.
rich in natural resources, particularly mineral resources. Yet,
despite this wealth of mineral resources, the country remains poor
and is yet to translate its mineral resource base into socio-economic
development. One of the reasons for this is the opacity in the mining
sector. The mining sector has largely been free from public scrutiny
due to entrenched secrecy in the sector. A clear example is that
of the Marange diamond fields. Despite being hailed as one of the
largest finds of alluvial diamonds in the last decade, the Marange
diamond fields have been an arena of secrecy and contestation.
There has been limited public disclosure on the issuance of mining
claims, the contracting process and the distribution of revenues
generated from diamond mining. The collapse of Canadile Miners and
the subsequent arrest of the Directors on allegations of misrepresentation
of facts on the company's capacity to invest in diamond mining
in Marange clearly points to the opacity in Marange. The other companies
mining in Marange, Mbada Diamonds and Anjin Investments do not have
clear ownership structures known to the public. In presenting his
the Minister of Finance reiterated the need for transparency in
the diamond mining sector if the revenues generated thereof are
to benefit the national economy.
in Marange sticks out when the plight of the communities is taken
into account. A total of 4000 families face relocation to Arda Transau.
The 700 families that have been relocated already are yet to receive
compensation and have had their economic livelihood activities disrupted.
The relocation process has also been handled with very little communication
with the households concerned leading to rights violations and community
despondency. This means there was no free, prior informed consultation
in the relocation process. The call for improved 'openness'
in the governance of Zimbabwe's mineral resources is not limited
to the diamond sector but is a call that encompasses all minerals
including platinum, gold, chrome and coal among others. The need
for transparency and accountability is more critical in light of
the implementation of the Indigenisation
and Economic Empowerment Act. There is need for to institutionalise
transparency in the community trusts that are being established
so as to ensure that benefits accrue to the local community members.
In the absence of transparency and accountability, indigenisation
and economic empowerment may become a cover for looting by elites.
ZELA notes that
the government is beginning to take tentative steps towards improving
transparency and accountability as a response to Civil Society Organisations
initiatives like the Publish What You Pay Zimbabwe Chapter. The
launch of the Zimbabwe Mineral Revenue Transparency Initiative (ZMRTI)
represents a critical step in attempts to ensure transparency in
mineral revenues. Government has also strongly signalled its intention
to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
Transparency and accountability is being reflected in ongoing and
proposed reforms. The first draft constitution from the on going
constitutional reform process has got principles of good governance,
which include transparency and accountability. The hope is that
these principles on transparency and accountability will cascade
to other laws and polices that have implications on natural resource
governance. The recent discussions on the formulation of the Diamond
Policy and work towards crafting a Diamond Bill and reforming the
Mines and Minerals Act also present opportunities to institutionalise
transparency and accountability not as an exception but as the standard
in mining development in Zimbabwe. As an example, one of the key
objectives of the draft Diamond Policy is 'to account for
every diamond mined in Zimbabwe to enhance transparency and ensure
the sector achieves its potential'. In addition, Zimbabwe
remains a member of the Kimberly Process.
ZELA calls on
the government to:
operationalise the work of the ZMRTI
- Join the
- Fully comply
with the minimum requirements of the Kimberly Process Certification
Scheme especially the Administrative Decision that was adopted
on the 1st of November 2011 in Kinshasa.
- Publish the
contracts and mining revenue from diamonds and other minerals
transparency in constitution of community trusts as part of the
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act
also calls on mining companies to:
the payments they make to government ensure the recognition of
community rights in their operations
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