By Anna Chibamu
RURAL district managers around the country have expressed concern over the continued exploitation of minerals in their areas by foreigners without consultation.
Rural District Councils (RDC) called for government to place proper legislation so that there could be transparency in the signing of mining contracts and extraction of minerals.
At a recent Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) consultative meeting on commodity transparency issues, stakeholders accused miners of not being faithful and only “coming to get rich”, leaving their areas vulnerable.
Mutoko RDC CEO, Peter Sigauke said as administrators, they were still in the dark as to the value of the minerals extracted from their areas.
“We do not know how much a tonne of granite rock or the currency it is sold in? Is it in US dollars, bond notes or RTGS?
“We need to know the value of the minerals so that we tally with our development levy. We need data, how much are they paying as royalties.”
Royalties are paid to government and then availed to RDCs to improve on infrastructure such as schools, clinics and roads.
The RDC officials also revealed that government has not been giving royalties to local authorities and this had greatly affected the smooth flow of their work in delivering services.
Runde District Council CEO, Godden Moyo called for transparency in the declaration of minerals as only one mineral (Platinum) has been declared with no known value.
Moyo spoke of information gaps, different figures from different stakeholders, something he said has caused confusion.
“What factors influence pricing of commodities? We are pinning our hope on key legislation amendment as we call for mandatory disclosure of mining companies to local authorities,” said Moyo.
Mines and Mining Development parliamentary committee chairperson, Edmond Mkaratigwa however, admitted there were anomalies within the extractive sector adding that the traditional culture of doing business was no longer favourable in the current situation.
“We also want other stakeholders to be transparent as well. For example, Extension Officers can help us in surfacing hidden information.
“As Parliament, we want to amend laws or align them to the new constitution so that they help and guide in the extraction of minerals.
“Issues of the proposed Devolution Bill and access to markets are crucial to the industry to benefit everyone and not just a few,” Mkaratigwa highlighted.
The MP urged members of the public to participate in public hearings regarding the making or amending of laws of the land.