Zimbabwe should set up a compliance monitoring mechanism in all mining companies in the country so that Harare can avoid leakages and exploit its mineral resources.
This was said in a statement by Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe amid allegations that its nationals were looting minerals from Zimbabwe, in particular, diamonds, gold and chrome.
Some Chinese mining companies have been caught up in controversies with the latest being Anjin which is mining diamonds in Marange. Some of the Asian companies and individuals have been accused of harassing Zimbabweans during the discharge of duty.
“On many occasions, we have suggested that the Zimbabwean government set up a compliance monitoring mechanism in all mining companies working in the country, Zimbabwean and foreign alike.
“It will play a supervisory role over whether the enterprises operate legally, whether they comply with Zimbabwe’s environmental protection and labour policies, and whether they trade mineral products in legal channels; it will also make it mandatory for the enterprises to share with the public information about its investment cost, output and profit sharing arrangements.
“We hope this will make Zimbabwe and its people the beneficiary of mining gains, bring about greater corporate transparency, and encourage the sustained growth of businesses,” the statement said.
The Chinese Embassy further maintained that its citizens and companies were not plundering resources from Zimbabwe.
“Our dedicated and selfless help, in the form in grants and financing support, among others, has seen the construction of schools, hospitals, power stations, and airports across the country,” the statement said.
It argued that the Chinese government has drilled thousands of boreholes while reconstruction of the areas hardest hit by Cyclone Idai was being pushed forward with full strength with more than 10 000 tonnes of food reaching ordinary Zimbabweans for years.
“It has also come to our attention that unfounded allegations about China looting Zimbabwean resources have been circulating in some circles. Our consistent position is that the Chinese government is not interested in taking resources from Zimbabwe.
“In fact, it takes little more than a serious look at all the cooperation agreements between the two governments to see the fact. Mining is not in any of them; natural resources are not used as a collateral or in exchange for support in any of them.
“Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group is only a private Chinese company, with no interests whatsoever connected with the Chinese government.”
Trade between China and Zimbabwe stood at US$1.3 billion in 2018, with Zimbabwe enjoying a trade surplus of US$445 million with the Asian country, but the Chinese investments in Zimbabwe have since grown in different sectors of the economy like agriculture, mining, energy and construction.
Among other projects, the Chinese are undertaking in Zimbabwe are the construction of the New Parliament Building in Mt Hampden, power stations in Hwange, and several mining companies like Anjin which is involved in diamond mining along Russian conglomerate Alrosa in Marange.
Another major project is the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport Expansion project which is also underway.
The Zimbabwe mining sector has been struggling as leakages heighten amid depressed local market as well as concurrent power outages which disturb the production process of the minerals.China is one of Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partners alongside neighbours South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo and Botswana.