Michael Magoronga Midlands Bureau
Zimbabwe mining policies should be crafted in such a way that discourages foreign investors from looting the country’s natural resources, stakeholders in the mining sector have said.
The stakeholders were making their contribution during a public hearing conducted by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development at Kwekwe Theatre last week.
Chaired by Zvishavane-Ngezi legislator, Dumezweni Mpofu, the committee is conducting public hearings to find out challenges that are being faced by the miners as a result of existing mining laws.
A local miner, Mr Silas Chaduka, said the mining laws should be crafted in a way that protected and benefited the local community where the mineral is being explored.
“There should a law that protects and benefits the locals and if that law is already existing there is need to seriously implement that law so that the locals benefit,” he said.
“Investors should not come and loot. Let us have policies that put in place proper enforcement that we avoid leakages of our precious resources. The minerals we have in this country should benefit the local people before they benefit anyone else.
“But we are found wanting on the implementation part of the current laws. We should be able to account for every mineral.”
Another miner, Mr Jacob Chokururama, called for the laws that resolve disputes between miners and farmers.
“Disputes between farmers and miners are hampering development,” he said. “In most instances a lot of time is being spent at the courts to try and resolve these disputes, some of which take many years to be resolved.
“I, therefore, call upon the relevant authorities to speed up the digitisation of the registration purpose.”
Mr Chokururama said the time it took for one to get a mining claim should also be reduced.
Mrs Martha Moyo of Silobela Miners Association said the Exclusive Prospective Orders (EPOs) should be reviewed so that locals were allowed to benefit from the resources that were locked down under the arrangement.
“The issue of EPOs is causing problems,” she said. “You find that most of these EPOs are held by foreign mining corporations. It’s high time we prioritised locals and allow them to extract minerals from those closed mines. Let us be allowed to benefit from our own resources.”