By Alois Vinga
ZIMBABWE’s ‘all-weather’ ally, China has called on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration to channel mining proceeds into improving the lives of ordinary citizens.
The Asian economic giant also said there was need for Harare to craft laws that promote transparency in the lucrative mining sector.
In a statement, the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe also commended the government for banning all mining activities in national parks.
The government has been under immense pressure after it emerged that it had granted two Chinese mining companies to extract coal from the Hwange National Park.
The government also, with immediate effect has banned riverbed and alluvial mining on rivers and pushed for the introduction of orderly mining initiatives that follow Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) recommendations.
“Mining on areas held by national parks is banned with immediate effect. Steps are being undertaken to immediately cancel all mining titles held in national parks,” Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said this week.
“All those holding mining concessions will be given a grace period to be announced to obtain Environmental Impact Assessment and state of works plan.
“Stiff penalties shall be aimed at all those who are not complying with environmental provisions.”
Responding to the new measures, China said the developments were welcome as they provided clearer guidelines to foreign enterprises engaged in mining cooperation in Zimbabwe.
“We reiterate that we support Zimbabwe to use mining proceeds to develop itself and improve the life of its people. We further propose Zimbabwe to promulgate and implement laws and regulations to increase corporate transparency in the mining area and promote the sustainable growth of businesses,” the statement reads.
“Under such a mechanism, all mining enterprises shall be required to share the public information about their investments, cost, output, and profit-sharing arrangements. It is very clear and unchallengeable that Zimbabwe’s resources belong to Zimbabweans.”
China is now one of the countries with the largest number of its citizens who have ventured into mining in Zimbabwe. Some of them have been accused of not following the country laws and ill-treating workers.