The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) is in agreement with President Emmerson Mnangagwa on repealing the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill (MMAB).
The Zimbabwean President returned the MMAB of 2015 to the to parliament to have some issues addressed before signing the bill into law
“The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) has been at the forefront of advocating for the repeal of the current Act and enactment of a fresh new Mines and Minerals Act,” ZELA says in a press release.
“ZELA has insisted that such a fundamental law must, in general, be clear, coherent and accessible and the proposed layered piecemeal amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act make it too complex for it to be implemented effectively.”
The environmental association said the parliament, where the MMAB was returned could be facing a real paradox on the bill.
“On the one hand, the Bill must cater for vested business interests under the ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’ approach which is a pro-business policy,” ZELA says.
“On the other hand, the Bill must, in line with the Constitution, ensure that the environmental, economic and socio-cultural rights of communities are protected and respected.”
ZELA says the new Mines and Mineral Act should sufficiently cater for compensation, environmental considerations, human rights and transparency in the mining sector.
“The Act must show how the Environmental Rehabilitation Fund proposed will be administered to effectively address environmental damage from mining and how this fund relates to the fund in the Environmental Management Act,” ZELA says.
“Provisions on compensation should be clearly outlined for those that are affected by involuntary displacement and resettlement associated with mining activities.”
“ZELA reiterates that the parliament must insist that the new Mines and Minerals Act cannot be passed without implementation of section 315 (2) of the Constitution which states ‘Án Act of Parliament must provide for the negotiation and performance of (the) following state contracts-joint venture contracts…….’as the spirit envisaged by the Constitution is that these two Acts be read in conjunction with each other ‘to ensure transparency, honesty, cost-effectiveness and competitiveness,” the environmental organisation goes on.
Besides ZELA, Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Prospectors’ Association (ZPA) had shown discontent with the bill.
The Chamber of Mines has not been happy with the definition of strategic minerals for covering almost all minerals and also the ZPA wants prospectors, who are after mineral deposits, recognised as staking agents in the Act.