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Press release Provincial Alternative Mining Indaba 4 to 5 June 2014


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Press release Provincial Alternative Mining Indaba 4 to 5 June 2014

  1. 1. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 29 May 2014 Provincial Alternative Mining Indaba focusing on creating space for community voices The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) will host over 100 delegates during the Midlands Provincial Alternative Mining Indaba (PAMI) from the 4th to the 5th of June 2014 in Shurugwi, in the Midlands Province of Zimbabwe. The Midlands Provincial Alternative Mining Indaba is the first of two Provincial Alternative Mining Indabas for 2014, the second of which will be held in Manicaland. The 2014 Provincial Alternative Mining Indabas for Midlands and Manicaland will be held under the theme “Creating space for community voices on mining” which conjures the importance of providing a platform for communities to engage and express their views and concerns on mining. The Midlands and Manicaland provinces are hosting the Indabas because they have the biggest mining operations in Zimbabwe, which include chrome, platinum, gold, and diamond mining. The inaugural Provincial Alternative Mining Indabas (PAMIs) in the two provinces were hosted in 2013 under the theme “Making Mining Responsive to Community Needs” The 2013 theme was calling for attention on the environmental, economic, social and cultural rights of communities that are normally negated by mining companies and the government who are normally driven by the profit the motive. In Zimbabwe, Mining is identified as the lead sector based on its contribution to both the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and export earning having contributed nearly 20% and 60% respectively in 2013. The Government of Zimbabwe’s five (5) year development plan, the “Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation” (ZimAsset) underpins mineral beneficiation as an important development cluster. This prominent economic role ascribed to the mining sector is, however, not matched by significant mineral revenue flows to the Treasury as well as benefits to ordinary Zimbabweans especially communities that live adjacent to mining operations. The government has since recognized the same resulting in the formulation of Community Share Ownership Trusts (CSTOs) under the Indigenization and 1
  2. 2. Economic Empowerment Programme. These CSOTs have been established in mineral resource rich areas to bring about the much needed development. The CSOTs are also meant to ensure that communities undertake development projects of their choice in order to promote development and poverty alleviation in their areas. Since 2011, CSOTs have been launched in Tongogora (by Unki Mine), Zvishavane (by Mimosa), and Marange-Zimunya, Gwanda, Bindura and Mhondoro-Ngezi areas. In some areas where the Trusts have been established, developmental projects have been witnessed and these include building of schools, clinics, rural electrification schemes and building of dams. However, because of the unbalanced power relations between the management and the community members, within the CSOT, social accountability remains weak. Consequently, communities are crying foul that they are being excluded in the management of resources that are meant for their benefit. Further, community rights are not being respected and are wantonly violated with little access to remedy. Some of the rights violation are pollution of water and air, land degradation and forced mining induced relocations. Given this obtaining situation, the PAMIs therefore seek to promote active and meaningful participation by communities in natural resources governance. They are platforms for communities to dialogue with government and mining companies on mining impacts on their livelihoods, rights and environment. “Despite the potential of the mining sector to contribute to economic development, the sector is presently causing untold suffering to the communities living adjacent to mining operations.” Said Veronica Zano a legal officer with ZELA who is the overal coordinator of the PAMIs. “Some of the problems affecting mining communities include issues of forced evictions and relocations of communities from their traditional lands without free and prior informed consent and lack of fair and adequate compensation in order to pave way for mining activities.” She continued. These irregular relocations are leaving a lot of poor men, women and children suffering from loss of agricultural and grazing lands, thereby, threatening their food security and loss of livelihoods. 2
  3. 3. The situation is even worse for rural women as they are heavily dependent on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods. This year’s PAMIs will provide an opportunity for communities affected by mining activities to interact with government, mining companies, the media and CSOs on the challenges they face in line with mining activities and to come up with possible solutions to address them. It is ZELA’s expectation that by the end of the PAMI new advocacy strategies and measures for activists in Zimbabwe will be developed to foster accountability from government and mining entities. The PAMI should also develop clear recommendations to government on its implementation strategy of the best model for community empowerment as well as encourage community input on policy and legal reforms. Through the media, nation-wide dialogue shall be promoted on the critical issues that shall be discussed. ZELA shall also utilize social media to promote the virtual presents of many whom because of resources might not be able to physically participate. With support from: For more Information contact: 3