Leading platinum mining company Zimplats has decried excessive interference by politicians in its corporate social responsibility projects.
Speaking at an indaba organized by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) which ran under the theme “Creating space for community voices on mining” Zimplats head of corporate affairs, Busi Chindove, said a survey conducted by the mine indicated that the community was fed up with interference by the government.
“If Zimplats wants to carry out a project in the community it operates in say construct a dam, it has to go through an MP, a councillor and senior politicians. The process is so difficult. The easiest way would be to directly engage the community themselves but this is not what the politicians expect from us,” she said.
Last year the company, owned by Implats of South Africa, clashed with the then Indigenisation Minister, Savior Kasukuwere, on corporate social development projects. The minister threatened to cancel their operating license, accusing the mine of refusing to release seed money for the controversial Zanu (PF) community share ownership scheme.
When Zimplats paid the money over, there were reports that the fund was abused by the trustees of the scheme, most of them party supporters. Chindove said Zimplats prioritised education, health and income generating projects. “In order to show its seriousness on the matter, the company has already spent $220 million in the projects,” she said.
Zimplats is the leading platinum mining firm in the country followed by Mimosa in Zvishavane and Shurugwi-based Unki Mine. Geologists say the mine is sitting on an estimated $4 billion worth of platinum and posts an annual average profit of $200 million.