Govt urged to halt Marange mining
An independent organisation working in Zimbabwe’s extractive industry has called on government to halt diamond mining in Marange and institute an audit.
The Centre for Research and Development (CRD) is concerned that the socio-economic situation at the diamond fields continues to deteriorate while government takes no action.
“The last seven months have seen massive job losses, arbitrary salary cuts and employees working without salaries,” said CRD.
It accused the companies of illegal labour practices such as forcing the workers to sign documents that absolved the company of the duty to pay them while they provided labour on the farms.
“A scenario where workers continue to work for such a long period without receiving income at an alluvial diamond mining company is an unusual practice in the diamond industry and stands in breach of the Labour Act [Chapter 28:01] and all other progressive laws that we have ratified as a nation,” said the centre.
In 2013, government promised to overhaul diamond mining in the area through a cocktail of policy changes but it has not done so yet. It also announced that the mining companies, which have failed to remit tax to treasury through corrupt means, would be merged to partner with government.
The centre suggested that audited statements of accounts for all diamond mining houses be made public and urged government to set up a forum to discuss and resolve the problems.
“We maintain that diamonds are a finite resource to which all Zimbabweans lay claim. We are making a call to conscience, reason and justice on all those in authority to stop this inhuman suffering in the midst of plenty,” said CRD.
There are reports that some mining executives are disinvesting from Marange and moving critical equipment to undisclosed locations.
Source: The Zimbabwean