The issues to do with Private Voluntary Organizations (PVOs), Royalties and disputes highlighted early discussions of the Capacity Building Workshop on the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill for the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development which was held in Bulawayo last week.
The Workshop which was meant to equip members of Parliament to have an insight into the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill before all stakeholders conferences brought with it some interesting debates to be factored into the Amendment bill.
Speaking at the Event Mbizo MP Hon Settlement Chikwinya asked whether factoring PVOs as a standard for miners to have a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) certificate necessary. He also asked, “Where there is a dispute between two prospective miners, operations are suspended. What provision of the Act is the PMD relying on? And I hear that you’re trying to bring about compensation post-resolution of the dispute in the event that the dispute was unreasonable. How are you going to be compensating?” Hon Chikwinya asked.
Answering some of the questions, Legal expert Dr Tsaburi said PVOs should be part of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill but the Bill should include community share ownership Trusts to ensure that communities are wholly involved in the development and Extraction of their land.
When it comes to dispute resolution, Dr Tsaburi said an Interim judgement should be installed to ensure that the person operating can still continue working whilst the matter is being deliberated.
“My issue is that PVOs are non-governmental organizations and we want them to drive to communities paid on donor funding. Why can’t we seek the creation of community-based organizations so that the mining companies will go directly to that community organization instead of seeking PVOs whose agenda cannot be driven by the community but by their funders?
“If you are a lawyer, we would want to give an Interim order. We should have that kind of provision to ensure that minerals are not exhausted whilst the matter is before the courts,” said Tsaburi.
Mberengwa North MP Hon Tafanana Zhou said, “There is a requirement for pre-inspection, does that pre-inspection provide one with security? I want to understand the animal called pre-inspection. The second issue, I would have expected the mining lease to have stronger tenure, to have 20 years, 15 years or so. To then say that you then forfeit your claim after 1 year when the lease is supposed to be stronger and longer, I don’t understand the reason behind that provision if we could get some explanation.
He also asked about the use it or lose it principle where he said the word capital expenditure seems to be out of context when it comes to title renewal.
Chamber of Mines legal representative commenting on some of the issues raised said, “…Part C then said work includes capital expenditure and gives exclusion to what doesn’t count as capital expenditure, but already there when we make reference to capital expenditure. Given what I’ve said at the beginning of my comments, we are saying, we are no longer looking at a situation where you are paying any sort of amount to preserve your mining right. That reference to capital expenditure in my mind is out of place because already for our defining work has included capital expenditure. The use it or use the principle is not necessarily being intercalated as we would want it to be because there is still an element of using capital itself.
“If you go to page 168, this is now essentially what factors are then considered by the PMD when you now are applying for an inspection certificate because remember the inspection certificate is what need for you to be able to continue to mine. And it then says that one of the considerations that the PMD is going to make is an application in writing to the PMD for an inspection certificate in respect of work executed on a block or mining lease. So in other words, he has to consider the work that is executed on a block or a mining lease. But if we use the word work as it has been defined and as I articulated, It means that the PMD has the discretion to then look at Capital expenditure. So as much as we have spoken about that we no longer are going to preserve the mining rights using capital expenditure the actual letter of that section is inconsistent from what you are saying. So one would then need to make sure that when we are drafting this section that reference to capital expenditure is consistent and clearly defined.”
The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development legal ADVISOR Jacqueline Munyonga said “We have basically moved from the preservation of mining title by simply paying but we might need to strike out capital expenditure on the bill. Why we had put PVOs is simply because now for a miner to acquire an inspection certificate is that we want miners to adhere to their CSR obligations before any inspection and it means one will not renew their certificates without adhering to CSR”
The Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development Hon Edmond Mkaratigwa said the issue of capital expenditure was too narrow and should be included in the work plans.
“I think capital expenditure here must be part of the development of work. It’s too narrow, it must be included in the submissions,” Mkaratigwa said.
Hon Zhou also asked why they did not ride on community share ownership trusts that are already in place?”
Answering the question, Munyonga said “When drafting we will be giving a proposal for the public to then deliberate on it. Other miners were complying and others were not so we had to put the issue of CSR in the bill to force everyone to comply.”
Commenting on the issue Hon Raidza, said that communities have an important role to play.
“I think our communities still have an important role to play. Let us think along the lines of devolution. If we allow people from the communities to monitor miners CSR obligations will make a lot of sense than allowing someone to come from somewhere else,” Hon Raidza said.
He also asked about the practicality of the Ministry to issue CSR certificates when it has been difficult for them to issue only mining certificates
“What is the practicality of getting a CSR certificate when getting mining certificates has been an issue? If I have been making a loss the whole year how can I then be able to adhere to my CSR obligations?”
Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) CEO Wellington Takavarasha said levies were not consistent and Dr Tsaburi also commented saying that there should be a balance between CSR and royalties.
“RDCs are using discretion, there should be a standard of paying development levies,” Takavarasha said.
Hon Mkaratigwa commenting on the issue said,
“We need to correct this going forward. The responsibility for royalties is not in the hands of the Mines Ministry. We need the Ministry of Finance. We also needed local authorities here so that we make sense of the Bill. Are the local authorities competent enough to determine Development levies? We would want as the Parliament to give a proposal to the Mines Ministry to determine local authority levies.