By Nyore Madzianike
Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda has demanded transparency in the mining sector to enable economic turnaround. He said lack of sound administration in the mining sector was hampering its potential to contribute to economic development. Adv Mudenda was addressing stakeholders at a two-day workshop on mining sector policies held in Mutare on Friday last week.
“The need for open, transparent and accountable administration of the mining sector cannot be downplayed,” he said. “The potential of the mining sector to contribute to economic development is being hampered by unsound corporate governance, which is indicative of lack of transparency and accountability in the whole mining value chain.
“If you challenge me on that one, tell me what has been going on at Chiadzwa diamonds. There are clear records? — they are not there.” Adv Mudenda bemoaned poor negotiation of terms of business modes with potential investors in the mining sector. He said there was need to employ skilled personnel when scouting and making contractual agreements with investors.
“Poor negotiations of contracts result in skewed contracts that fail to unlock maximum value to the country,” said Adv Mudenda. “Honourable ministers, as you go out in the world scouting for investors, please make sure that you have got appropriate personnel that negotiate business models in terms of contracts that are conclusive to our economic growth.” Adv Mudenda said the country needed policy and legal framework for mineral exploitation.
“Synonymous with the new economic order recently ushered in with the coming of the new administration, there is need for policy and legal frameworks for mineral exploration in the country,” he said.
“It is disquieting that despite its envisaged abundant mineral wealth intuitively sensed by Cecil John Rhodes at the turn of the last century, Zimbabwe does not have geological data, which determines the quantity and quality of its mineral wealth.
“Essentially, exploration will enable Government to quantify more accurately its mineral resources and enable it to securitise some of it for domestic resource mobilisation. Our current mining operations point to a great potential for further discoveries of huge and highly diversified mineral resource base dominated by two prominent geological features, namely, the Great Dyke and ancient Greenstone Belts also known as Gold Belts. There is, therefore, need for intense exploration.”
Adv Mudenda said it was important to map out the principles of the Minerals Exploitation Bill, which would be tabled in Parliament soon. He urged the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mining to pursue the revamping of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).
“I am on record in calling for this committee to pursue the revamping of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation through the Ministry of Mines so that an energetic and innovative board is put in place sooner rather than later,” said Adv Mudenda.
“The obtaining situation where, with all these vast mineral resources we have, ZMDC is sitting on 14 or so inoperative mining concessions is totally unacceptable.
“Revitalising the mining sector and making it contribute significantly to the national revenue and the GDP requires strategic and ethical leadership, good corporate governance, as well as policy and regulatory certainty in the mining sector.”