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SarWatch Writer
SARW submission on Zambia’s mining legislation and policy framework

 SARW recently appeared before the legal review technical committee of the  Zambian Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development Act of 2015 (MMDA).  The piece of legislation under review came into force in 2015. 

Immediately after the enactment of the law, SARW through its local partners Center for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) and the Technical Working Group (TWG) immediately undertook a nation-wide consultation to collect peoples’ views. The national consultation process produced a number of recommendations. After five years of being in force, the government has realised the need for the revision and amendment of the MMDA . 

Key areas of the SARW submission include 

 

  • The weak enforcement provisions of the Act 

 

      • There is notable ambiguity within the MMMD Act on the extent to which it interfaces with other legislation, particularly the Lands and Forestry Acts. There is a need for the law to address these ambiguities and discrepancies in the law to better govern the mining sector. The licensing committee is appointed by the Minister of Mines and Mineral Development, and the Minister has authority to overrule the committee’s decisions. The current Act allows the government to withhold compensation and re-settlement agreements from the public, which reduces accountability, breeds mistrust, and threatens justice. There is a gap regarding non-mining rights with respect to goldmining, and no clear definition of ‘strategic mineral’, which needs to be included in the Act.

 

  • Lack of environmental sustainability and rights protection 

 

      • The Act identified the status of environmental sustainability and  protection of environmental rights for mining host communities and overall management of the environment in mining sites. The law should prohibit granting of exploration and mining rights in protected areas (e.g., Lower Zambezi national park case). There is a need for an independent licensing process, and proper extensive analysis of the findings and recommendations of environmental impact assessments (EIAs). There is also the need to strengthen environmental regulations for artisanal and small-scale mining, as its extraction methods are often ecologically harmful. 

 

  • Re-introduction of mineral royalty sharing mechanism (MRSM), with clear implementation procedure

 

  • There is a need to re-introduce the mineral royalty sharing mechanism (MRSM), as provided for under Article 136 of the MMDA of 2008, with clear implementation provisions. This is the only way of ensuring sub-national revenue transfers from mining to the host communities where mining takes place. 

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