ED speaks on CSR in mining
By Ndanatsiwa Tagwireyi
The success of the mining sector must be conceptualized not only by the tonnes, carats or ounces mined but also through improvements in the quality of people’s lives in mining communities, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
This came out in his official opening address at the 25th edition of the Mining, Engineering and Transport (Mine Entra) expo in Bulawayo recently. Mine Entra 2022 ran under the theme ‘Explore. Extract. Expand-Towards Sustainable Mining Value Chains.
Research indicates that some communities in mining areas are not getting meaningful benefits out the extraction of minerals within their proximity. A paper titled ‘Mining and Minerals Revenue Distribution in Zimbabwe: Learning from Our Surroundings and Past Mistakes’ indicates that there should be specific laws and policies on how mining companies give corporate social responsibility.
President Mnangagwa urged mining stakeholders to invest in programs that guarantee tangible benefits for local communities.
“In light of this, the mining industry should give due regard to the Environmental, Social and Governance issues around their mining entities,” he said. “Over and above routine Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs, our people must see life transforming infrastructure development from the presence of mining entities in their communities.”
He added that environmental degradation through mining should also come into play and cited the need for dialogue between mining companies and communities.
“At local level, the elimination of negative environment footprints of mining operations remains imperative. As I fly around in my helicopter, I see that so many areas have been degraded through mining,” the President said.
“I challenge you in the mining sector to dialogue with local communities towards forging win-win synergies with them and partnerships for optimum benefits within the mining industry and the communities,” he said. “After all, the community was there first before the mine, although the mineral was there before the community.”
In May 2022, the Mining Vision Magazine published an article titled, ‘CSR should be a binding law in mining: Perspectives.’ In the article, representatives from the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG), Hands of Hope Trust, Midlands Province Small to Medium Enterprises and others clearly articulated that minerals in resource rich areas should develop local communities. Some also pointed that mining companies should be responsible for preserving the environment in which they mine from as part of CSR.