- August 22, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
Mineral resources in Zimbabwe are being lost and not benefiting the country except a few companies and individuals especially in the gold and diamond sectors.
Speaking in an a-no-holds-barred interview with Open Parly ZW, Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) Deputy Director Shamiso Mtisi said that despite the country having a widespread of activities from the gold and the diamond sector, nothing is there to show for it as minerals are lost to alternative markets.
The ZELA Director said that the government is resisting formalisation of the mining sector and its strict regulatory policies have contributed greatly to the loss of minerals to the alternative markets.
Mtisi said instead of the people benefiting from the rich resources the country has, violence, poor roads, poor schools, and health facilities are all that the government and mining companies have rewarded communities with.
“We have a lot of mineral resources being lost and not benefiting the country, except a few companies and individuals especially in the gold and diamond sectors. Until recently, Fidelity Printers has been fiddling with gold prices for a long time and not offering gold miners market price for gold and this drove a lot of the gold into the black market. The Licensing of gold buying agents is questionable.
“At the same time the government is resisting formalising or passing a law to regulate and derive revenues from Artisanal Miners yet there has been an explosion of many people, including youths and women going into artisanal gold mining. Many of them sell their gold to the black market.
“In the diamond sector, Zimbabwe has nothing to show from the Diamond mining activities in Marange for example. The national fiscus is dry, communities are poor, no proper road infrastructure exists in Marange, inadequate schools facilities, and health centers.” Mtisi said.
According to Mtisi, the government has failed to deal with the issues of corruption and violence in the mining sector, therefore, a chief penetrator in making sure that the rewards of the land are never to benefit citizens.
He said that the bad reputation of the government on the international scene has also contributed to buyers from India and the United Arab Emirates taking advantage of the situation and buy our minerals at very low prices for resale at a premium.
Mtisi advised the government to fix the poor image of Marange diamonds by curbing human rights violations, curbing corruption, supporting reforms in the Kimberley process to enable it to investigate cases of human rights abuses in different countries.
“All that we hear on a daily basis are human rights violations and no good news from Marange. It’s sad. The government has dismally failed. Corruption has flourished.
“As a result, Zimbabwe diamonds are being sold on the cheap markets and are undervalued because buyers from India and Dubai (UAE) are taking advantage of the bad reputation to get cheaper diamonds and resell at a premium. Kimberley Process statistics of diamond production and exports from Zimbabwe show all this I am talking about. So Zimbabwe should fix the poor image of Marange diamonds by curbing human rights violations, curbing corruption, supporting reforms in the Kimberley process to enable it to investigate cases of human rights abuses in different countries,” he said.
Many mining companies are not interested in community development programmes that are sustainable or that bring income. They mostly focus on Corporate Social Responsibility actions and handouts that don’t change lives. However, there are some companies that have made efforts to improve community livelihoods and programmes including ZIMPLATS, MIMOSA, and Murowa among others.