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SarWatch Writer
PRESS RELEASE- CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS WORKING ON EXTRACTIVE RESOURCE GOVERNANCE ON THE COPPERBELT PROVINCE OF ZAMBIA LAUNCH “THE COPPERBELT CIVIL SOCIETY MINING FORUM”

Ndola-Zambia – In response to the visible negative impact of mining activities on Copperbelt communities, ten national and regional advocacy organisations have come together to form a coalition called “Copperbelt Civil Society Mining Forum” the first of its kind to advance and protect the interests of mining communities in the Copperbelt.

The forum is cognisant of the existence of many government processes aimed at strengthening mining policies, legislations and institutions including not limited to -revision of the Mines and Minerals Act, Zambia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Bill, the development of local content policy, Industrialisation Policy (Value addition) and the initiation of Zambia Mining Indaba.

Whilst the latest elections in the country have renewed hope for civil society and citizens, the forum is concerned that all previous efforts have not yielded visible benefits of mining in the life of Zambian people, especially mining communities. The forum is also concerned about the truncated participation of civil society and the community in critical consultations on mineral sector governance.

The forum Identified critical issues that it will engage in the short and medium-term. These include:

  1. The lack of a clear policy direction on the management of the sector (Nationalisation or Privatisation) the uncertainty and instability surrounding Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has been under an appointed provisional liquidator, while the matter has been dragging in the courts of law between Vedanta and the Government, which has impacted negatively on the local community and economy.
  2. The lack of stakeholder consultations and transparency on Mopani Copper Mines ownership. The government through ZCCM-IH has acquired 100 % stake from Glencore in unexplained terms and deal, which has put the future of the jobs in limbo and puts the mine in a vulnerable position to political interference.
  3. Lack of policy clarity on economic empowerment of ex-miners. (In recent times the process has been politically motivated).
  4. The weakening of mining labour union due to mainly political patronage and poor negotiation skills.
  5. Government’s rejection of the mineral royalty sharing mechanism with the repeal of the Mines and Minerals Act No.8 of 2008. Which has cut off mining communities from benefiting from mining activities.
  6. Lack of community consultation and participation along the mineral value chain to ensure communities welfare, human rights and environmental protection are safely guided.
  7. Lack of clear and implementable local content legislation and policies.
  8. The disorganisation of the Artisanal and Scale Mining.

The decision to set up the “Copperbelt Civil Society Mining Forum” was taken at the inaugural consultative meeting held on the 30th of June 2021, at Fatmols Lodges in Ndola. The meeting deliberated and reflected on all the mineral value chain issues in relation to the interests and welfare of stakeholders, especially mining communities in the province and the nation at large.

The forum agreed to operate as a permanent loose advocacy platform to advance, protect the rights of mining communities and it will promote the socio-economic development agenda anchored on the mineral endowment of the province.

The forum will identify challenges facing the sector at a particular time and offer alternative solutions to both the industry and government. The forum will critically analyse the issue through its monthly mining fora and make its position known to the public.

While Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) will coordinate this forum, it will collectively be owned by the Copper belt-based Civil Society organisations and interest groups with unique competencies representing a wide range of community interests in the region.  In addition to the above, the forum will take a keen interest in the escalating strategy by Multinational Corporations on the use of Lawsuits against Public Participation in extractive resource governance as it pertains to the fundamental principles on business and human rights.

Member Organisations: Democratic Governance & Human Rights Advocates (Degha), Copperbelt Trade & Development Forum (Ctdf), Agathos Foundation, Activists for Justice & Development (AJUDE), Future-preneur Zambia (FPSZ), Transparency International Zambia (TIZ), Publish What You Pay Zambia (PWYP-Zambia), Sustainable Natural Resource Empowerment Initiative (SUNREI) and Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW)

For inquiries contact:

Edward Lange

SARW Governance, Research & Advocacy Officer

Cellphone: +260966533874

Email: edwardl@sarwatch.org

 

Masutane Modjadji

SARW Communications Officer

Cellphone: +27833078355

Email: masutanem@sarwatch.org

 

(Photo credit: MM-J/Flickr)

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