Governor, Dr. John Mangudya plans to engage artisanal miners on responsible gold mining and decriminalise gold possession, which will assist artisanal miners.
The move, announced in the Monetary Policy Statement on August 5, 2015, will enhance socioeconomic rights and uplift standards of living of marginalised economic groups, largely found in underdeveloped rural areas.
While this is commendable, the government’s attempts to help artisanal miners and promote the remitting of gold to Fidelity Printers and Refiners it should not overlook, but rather mitigate the potential downsides of mining activities. These include potential violation of the right to a healthy environment for surrounding and affected communities, especially those living downstream of rivers.
The government should equally address concerns of politicisation of artisanal mining by people or syndicates linked to the ruling party Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), which has been cited as a major concern by artisanal miners and small-scale traders.
ZimRights has received reports of politicisation of artisanal mining and natural resource allocation from small scale miners in Battlefields, Kwekwe, and Midlands, where it has been working with the marginalised socioeconomic groups for four years.
In a statement on August 3, 2015, Zimbabwe Informal Sector Organisation (ZISO) commenting on the plight of artisanal miners in Mashonaland said: “Bindura miners continue to bear the brunt of the politicisation of the country’s natural resources, minerals in particular.”
ZimRights has been working with a consortium of artisanal miners in Battlefields on human rights issues, assisting them to draft a constitution, as well as drawing up business contracts. The organisation remains committed to supporting and advocating for government policies that protect the socioeconomic and human rights of marginalised groups.
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