Proposed mining law amendments to help communities

EnviroPress Reporter

Consultations on the long-awaited Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill have started to pave way for the repeal of the existing mining legislation with communities set to benefit from their resources among a host of other proposed changes.

With the Bill proposing features like investor conditions, ensuring communities benefit from resources in their areas, facilitating the growth of small-scale miners and focusing on value addition, there are high expectations the country will release more from its resources through the new law.

Mines and mineral activities in Zimbabwe are currently being regulated by the Mines and Minerals Act of 1963, which has proved to be an obsolete piece of legislation out of touch with contemporary activities.

The biggest pitfall of the Mines and Minerals Act of 1963 is that it lacks statutory measures and provisions which can prevent mineral revenue leakages, corruption, vague mining licensing and poor mining taxation and royalty system.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Pfungwa Kunaka, said the bill would reform the mining laws in the country for the benefit of the communities and the mining sector.

‘‘This Bill intends to reform the mining laws in the country and this process has been envisaged with minimum success over a long period. However, it is our hope and belief that the latest development will culminate in the finalisation of the entire process for the benefit of the mining sector.’’

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development, Edmond Mkaratigwa, said there was need for a law that would empower communities and make a positive impact on the mining sector.

‘‘There are among many other issues that we have always obtained from the citizens and we need to ensure that the issues are well articulated when we complete this process, effectively it becomes very imperative that we put our shoulder to the wheel and make a law that will have a positive impact on the current generations as well as our prosperity.’’

Other features within the Bill include solving farmer-miner disputes, environmental, health and safety issues, transparency in the licensing regime of mining titles, recognition of provincial mining directors and devolution of the mining sector.

This project was made possible through a partnership with the Southern Africa Trust. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent that of the Trust or its associates.