ZIMSHEC and ActionAid vow to bring sanity to ASM

The Zimbabwe Mining Safety Health and Environmental Council (ZIMSHEC), in…

The Zimbabwe Mining Safety Health and Environmental Council (ZIMSHEC), in partnership with ActionAid Zimbabwe, is ready to implement strategies critical for sustainable and responsible mining in the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector to ensure future communities benefit as well as ensure that the environment and human capital are in a healthy state.

Artisanal and small-scale mining, or ASM, in Zimbabwe, is a largely semi-formal economic sector that includes individuals and/ or companies who use basic tools to extract gold and gemstones to vital metals such as cobalt, chrome, tin, tungsten, and tantalum, from the belly of the earth.

Speaking to Mining Zimbabwe on the sidelines of the National Launch of The Action Aid’s Zimbabwe Accountability and Citizen Engagement Management (ZIMACE) Programme to promote sustainable environmental management in the mining sector held at Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare on Wednesday, ZIMSHEC Executive Director Mr Makumba Nyenje said the launch of ZIMACE was going to bring transparency and accountability in the ASM industry with ZIMSHEC going to ensure that miners are empowered with adequate knowledge on how to preserve the environment.

Nyenje said the ZIMACE has received a buy-in from all the major stakeholders in the mining industry including mining associations, environmental sustainability associations, government agencies, and the Parliament of Zimbabwe.

“The aim is to promote responsible sourcing vis-à-vis respect for environmental protection. Mining can be done, and mining can take place, but after mining, what comes? We should always leave a good legacy to the mining communities after mining, after the exploitation of minerals. So basically, today’s activity has been to get buy-in from all the key stakeholders who have something to do with mining. So, yeah, we have got very good recommendations from key stakeholders. Parliament included the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines, as well as the Portfolio Committee on Environment. We also had other key stakeholders by way of agencies like the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), we had Forestry Commission, we also had ZINWA, all of these people have direct bearing or have some policies and statutory instruments which they use to monitor mining activities when it comes to environmental protection,” Nyenje said.

Action Aid Zimbabwe under this project works on the premise that environmental management challenges continue to undermine community development.

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The organization is aware that there is a need to ensure that mining corporations are compliant, transparent, and accountable for ZIMSHEC to achieve good environmental governance on the ground. This can help Zimbabwe to maximize benefits in terms of pricing.

“If our minerals are extracted in a manner that satisfies the international markets whilst adhering to internationally accepted standards and free from negative tags such as conflict minerals or irresponsibly sourced minerals in any manner, then we benefit more. The market has become alive to responsibly sourced minerals and these determine the market attitude and eventually the price,” the organization said.

Action Aid Zimbabwe and ZIMSHEC strongly believe that establishing collaborative alliances and working towards strengthened partnerships between government stakeholders, communities, corporates, and artisanal (ASMers) and small-scale (SSMers) miners can influence positive policy reforms and, in the process, strengthen the capacity of all these stakeholders aimed at promoting sustainable environmental practices in Zimbabwe’s mining sector.

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