Cabinet has agreed that for a period of two months, May and June 2023, a responsible Mining audit will be conducted countrywide.
This was announced at the 10th post cabinet Press briefing yesterday.
The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development will coordinate the audit which is set to start on the 10th of May, 2023.
“The objective of the Initiative is to ensure that all mining operations are conducted in accordance with the country’s laws. The audit team will comprise members from the following Ministries, Departments and Agencies: Mines and Mining Development, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Local Government and Public Works, Energy and Power Development, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Departments of Immigration and Labour, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, the Environmental Management Agency, and the Zimbabwe Republic Police,” Mines and Mining Development Minister said in a statement.
Zimbabwe’s mining industry is central to the country’s economic growth, accounting for up to 60% of its export revenue. However, the industry has faced criticism in the past for being associated with environmental degradation, social unrest, and human rights abuses.
Small-scale mining has become a significant source of livelihood for many people in Zimbabwe, but it is also notorious for environmental degradation and labour exploitation. In recent years, steps have been taken by the government and various stakeholders to promote responsible mining practices in the small-scale mining sector.
One of the key strategies is the implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which seeks to reduce the use of mercury in small-scale gold mining. Zimbabwe has already started phasing out mercury use and promoting the use of alternative technologies such as borax and cyanide.
The Zimbabwean government has introduced policies aimed at promoting responsible mining practices. The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, for example, has mandated that all mining operations must have an approved environmental management plan before they commence extraction. This plan should include mitigation measures to prevent or reduce environmental damage, as well as provisions for post-mining site rehabilitation.
The government has also put in place regulations governing the use of water in mining, requiring companies to adhere to strict guidelines on the usage, disposal, and treatment of wastewater. The goal is to reduce pollution of water sources, which can have far-reaching consequences on both human health and the environment.