Local authorities have expressed concern over the failure by mining companies to fulfill contractual obligations including mine closure procedures, the recent Manicaland Provincial Mining Indaba (PAMI) has revealed.
Mutare Rural District Council, chief executive officer Shepherd Chinaka said while government facilitates investment, regulating authorities should complement and provide oversight to irresponsible mining companies.
Chinaka made these remarks addressing the Provincial Annual Mining Indaba (PAMI) organized annually by civil society to provide alternative space for stakeholders and communities affected by mining to speak out.
"We have mining companies that are operating without reclamation plans at all. Those mining companies which have those reclamation plans are not being honored.
"Its a concern when investors expected to engage in regulated extraction of minerals now operate like artisanal miners. Who will cover the open pits which they leave behind for the communities," he said.
"We also have established companies which are coming with very good documents, EIA plans which are just but those documents and plans are not being followed," Chinaka added.
ZELA programs manager Nyaradzo Mutonhori highlighted that artisanal sector was no longer a livelihood option but a viable economic avenue with high growth potential if provided with requisite policy and legal support.
"This is a growing sector with a high growth potential, it employs more workers than the formal mining companies. We are just appealing as Zimbabweans that these natural resources should benefit all.
"We simply want government to allow Zimbabweans a fair chance to access minerals in a proper and organized manner that is reflective of our collective responsibility to enjoy and protect the environment," said Mutonhori.
Farai Maguwu, director of Centre for Natural Resources Governance (CNRG), whose organization monitors the extractive sector says there has to be an internal conversation to address several policy and structural gaps in mining.
"Zimbabwe must address the risks at the heart of this international isolation. This calls for internal dialogue and stern measures aimed at tackling corruption, organized crime, violence, human rights, inclusivity, good governance and property rights," said Maguwu.
PAMI is co-organized by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) and the Zimbabwe Council of churches as a build up to the regional Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI).