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Govt Implored To Introduce Policy That Legalises Artisanal Miners

The Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) has implored the Government to introduce a comprehensive and supportive policy that encourages the legalisation of artisanal miners.

SARW’s call comes at a time the central government has banned the exportation of raw lithium, a move that the organisation says affected artisanal miners.

In a statement, SARW said the country should create a legal and policy environment that is transparent, strategic and incorporates everyone.

“Although SARW appreciates the economic imperative of banning raw lithium exportation, it is concerned about how its implementation has largely affected the artisanal miners who were earning a living from mining the ore and selling without value addition. The ASM sector in Zimbabwe remains critical as it contributes to the livelihood of over 1, 5 million people in the country.

“SARW proposes that the Zimbabwean government introduce a comprehensive and supportive ASM policy regime that encourages and incentivises the legalisation and formalisation of the sector. The country should create a legal and policy environment that is objective, consistent, transparent, and non-discriminatory to some of the players in the sector. The gradual and systematic implementation of policies in a transparent and strategic way is key for the sector to thrive and for ensuring that the rights of those involved in mining are observed,” SARW said


The advocacy group called for the establishment of cooperatives that are different from those in the gold and diamond sector where elites exercise power.

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“SARW contends that policies should address not just the economic aspects but be accompanied by education, training and transitional provisions that ensure that those affected by the policy are not disadvantaged. The Zimbabwe government could organise artisanal miners in cooperatives and provide each registered cooperative with an artisanal mining zone(s)to exploit Lithium which will be purchased by a government set-up company.

“However, mechanisms should be put in place to avoid the replica of what is happening in the gold and diamonds industries where we have seen the interplay between historical power relations and formal institutions that use cooperatives and joint ventures as an instrument for economic, political, and customary elites to continue exercising power and exploiting miners economically,” the group said.

SARW added that it is against setting up cooperatives that ‘legalize’ exploitation including child labour and women’s disenfranchisement and abuse.

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