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ZELA awareness campaigns to artisanal and small-scale miners.

To ensure communities benefit from resources in their localities as stipulated in the Constitution, Section 13 (4) on National Development, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) seeks to influence an enabling policy and legal environment to foster responsible and sustainable growth of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). One pathway to achieve this is through conducting mobile legal clinics to enhance grassroots participation in legal and policy reforms to deliver ease of doing business for artisanal and small-scale miners (ASMiners). Further, the legal clinics leverage on experienced legal practitioners to share lived realities on legal bottlenecks hampering responsible and sustainable growth of ASM, for example, during the recently conducted mobile legal clinic training in Zvishavane.

Mining is the lead foreign currency generator and ASM especially in the gold sector are significant contributors – last year, 2018 producing 22.7 tonnes of gold totalling close to a billion dollars. Because of this, ZELA is currently implementing interventions that are tri-focal in raising awareness among the artisanal and small-scale miners;

  • Empowering artisanal & small-scale miners associations (ASSMA) to organise and bargain on behalf of their members. We recognize that there are numbers behind the sector with over 500 000 ASM yet policy makers find it easy not to promote formalisation and decriminalization of the sector.
  • Influencing an enabling policy, legal and institutional environment for socially and environmentally responsible and profitable ASM.
  • Promoting co-existence between ASM and LSM in mutual beneficial way.

To that end, ZELA is working hand in glove with other organizations that deal with mining for the artisanal and small-scale miners like the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF).

ZELA has put a lot of effort to amplify the voices of ASM associations on ease of doing business reforms at national level. It is worthwhile to note that at district level, ZELA helped ASM associations of Bubi, Gwanda and Zvishavane-Mberengwa to compile their key asks on ease of doing business reforms. At provincial level, a similar process was undertaken for Matebeleland North and South Provinces, (#ASMinMatNorth; #ASMinMatSouth).

The public interest law organisation has done researches which were conducted with a view of coming up with a documented issue that befall artisanal and small-scale miners in their operations, for example, a case study on ASM and Disability, research on ease of doing business that investigated impediments facing ASMs in Zimbabwe to inform efforts of the mining Technical Working Group (TWG) regarding formalising artisanal mining in Zimbabwe. As a result, the miners now have a simplified environmental management plan that miners must complete for responsible and safe mining practices. We have done several researches and in these, several recommendations have been noted including the need to conduct mobile legal clinics, a way to go for artisanal and small-scale miners to interface with policy makers and their fellow miners (large scale miners) on ensuring and improving responsible mining operations.

Screenshot_20190625-200143Mobile legal clinics (#sustainableASM #ASMinZim#ASMinZvish) are platforms of interface among stakeholders in the mining sector and the artisanal and small-scale miners to deliberate and proffer ideas on how to ensure responsible and environmentally friendly mining. These mobile legal clinics are meant to unpack some of the operational issues, among them the cumbersomeness of acquiring registration licenses and permits, safety, health, environment and the need for responsible mining activities by artisanal and small-scale miners. Mobile legal clinics are platforms of interface among stakeholders in the mining sector and the artisanal and small-scale miners meant to unpack some of the operational issues, among them many licenses and permits required for registration, safety, health, environment and responsible mining activities by artisanal and small-scale miners.

Through these awareness initiatives that facilitates knowledge exchange and engagement platforms that bring together players in the mining sector value chain to connect, engage and create workable relationships with artisanal and small-scale miners. These are meant to increase compliance among artisanal and small-scale miners.

ZELA is taking strides to make sure that environmental protection is also enhanced by conducting seminars with miners teaching them good measures to be implemented when mining. This is done for miners in a way to bring compliance among artisanal and small-scale miners in a way to obtain manageable operations and safe mining. Environmental protection is also enhanced through that miners have now in place, the Environmental Management Plans (EMPs). These customised EMPs enhances compliance among the artisanal and small-scale miners as the costs to obtain these is manageable.

ZELA have been involved in supporting the work of ASMs through encouraging them to form associations for ease bargaining. Various forms of support have been provided to develop the capacity of those associations. Working with ZMF and its member associations they have provided support in areas such as membership and database management as well as stakeholder consultation and engagement to lobby for policy reforms and promote good practices in small scale mining.

The artisanal and small-scale miners also engage the large mines through engagement meetings facilitated by the organisation. As such they must also enjoy benefits which other mines in Zimbabwe are enjoying.

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