Government says it will not hesitate to enact regulations which compel mining firms to increase their corporate social responsibility projects given the reluctance by some mining entities to invest towards sustainable economic development.
Governmentâ€™s call for a participatory approach and increased corporate responsibility projects follow growing concerns raised over the marginalisation of communities in the exploitation of mineral resources in their areas.
Speaking at the sidelines of a one day Chamber of Mines Zimbabwe CSR workshop in the capital, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister, Mr. Gift Chimanikire stressed governmentâ€™s commitment in ensuring that mining activities in the country assist in addressing the needs of communities.
â€œWe want broad based empowerment which ensures that the communities participate in the exploitation of the resource. If persuasion fails we will enact regulations which ensure that the mining houses increase their corporate social responsibility,â€ Mr Chimanikire said.
The Chamber of Mines Zimbabwe President, Mr. Victor Gapare highlighted the important role the mining industry can play in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through corporate social investment.
â€œThe corporate social responsibility can be in the form of stakes in the mining firms or development of infrastructure like bridges, schools and hospitals,â€ said MrÂ Gapare.
Empowerment Network, Communities Calling (CoCa) Chairman, Charles Nyachowe bemoaned the lack of community participation in the exploitation of the mineral resources, a situation which he says is unattainable.
â€œThere has been little or no community development. We have had a chance to interact with some traditional leaders in different communities and they have been raising concern over being marginalized by these mining houses,â€ said Nyachowe.
While notable development was seen in mining centres such as Lionâ€™s Den, Bindura, Mhangura, Kamativi, Redcliff and Inyati, most mining communities in the country are still lagging behind in terms of development.
Government has in its medium term plan prioritised the implementation of several strategies to ensure that the country fully benefits from its vast mineral resources.
Some of the proposed measures include the adoption of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) royalty policy as well as a sovereign fund.