President Emmerson Mnangagwa has challenged mining companies in Zimbabwe to develop communities where they operate through implementing empowering sustainable Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
Speaking at the inaugural Mining Industry Sector Awards held at the State House yesterday, President Mnangagwa said mining companies should empower the communities they are operating in.
“The ongoing improvements in the country’s infrastructure are critical to the development of the mining industry among other sectors of the economy. This includes revamping the road network, improvement of the rail network as well as enhancing our power generation capacity among others.
“l commend some within the mining sector for the outstanding Corporate Social Responsibility Programmes particularly as we shift from the welfare handouts approach to the broad-based and inclusive empowerment.
“I thus challenge more mining companies to complement Government efforts in the development of communities where they operate by implementing Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives,” he said.
He added that the mining sector’s contribution is critical towards the attainment of vision 2030 for Zimbabwe to become an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
“These must be anchored on structured development programmes and projects that resonate with our quest of leaving no one and no place behind.
“The mining sector should also strive for greater sustainability, competitiveness and modernisation as we grow the economy.
“With enhanced investment within the sector, we should continue to see increased production, productivity, employment creation, and exports of goods as we march towards the attainment of a prosperous and empowered upper-middle-income economy by 2030,” he said.
According to the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association, (ZELA) , the partial repeal of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment (IEE) Act through the Finance Act of 2018 had ended all hopes for host mining communities to benefit from the resources in their areas.
The IEE Act provided for the participation of indigenous Zimbabweans in mining activities through share ownership schemes such as the Community Share Ownership Trust (CSOT). In the absence of empowerment laws, communities are left at the mercy of companies through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Companies use CSR to obtain a good social licence in the communities where they work, unfortunately, most mining companies, mainly in the chrome sector rarely give back to communities citing low prices and escalating operating costs.
Meanwhile, Mimosa scooped the Corporate Social Responsibility programme of the year. According to the organiser’s citations, Mimosa is carrying out various projects to increase process efficiency. A concentrate handling facility to use a bulk loading bunker was commissioned last year.
A number of Corporate Social Responsibility Projects were done in 2021 including Livestock Revitalisation through artificial insemination and bull donations, donation of books and computers to schools around their community, and horticultural projects among others.
The company also scooped the same awards during the recently held Great Dyke Mining and Agriculture awards that were hosted in Gweru by YAFM and Great Dyke TV.