Mining Sector Exemptions from the COVID-19 Lockdown: Motivations and Triggers - Key Highlights

Zimbabwe now relies heavily on mining. In 2019, mineral exports contributed US$2.9 billion, accounting for 55.2% of the country’s total export earnings and approximately 73% of the value of the National Budget. The 2020 National Budget of Zimbabwe was valued at US$3.975 at the time of its presentation in November, 2019 (Using Interbank Exchange Rate of US$1: ZW$16 that prevailed at the time of its presentation). Therefore, the country cannot afford to continue without mining activities during this COVID-19 induced lockdown. In Zimbabwe, there is evidence of money laundering, illicit financial and mineral flows that are affecting extractive and natural resources revenue. Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) and its partner Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) will be closely monitoring these cases, specifically through tracking mining financial statements in the coming months to determine impact of mining sector exemption on production during Covid-19 lockdown, and to unearth any cases of mineral revenue mismanagement. ZELA and CNRG will engage parliamentarians in a move to build their capacity to play their oversight role and pass laws that uphold community rights and curb potential public revenue loss as a result of smuggling and illicit financial flows in the mining and extractive sector.