Bad agreements prejudice Zim of mineral wealth

The Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) has accused the government of signing away Zimbabwe’s mineral wealth in careless deals.

Farai Maguwu: Nations like China and Russia are lining their pockets through our mineral resources.
Farai Maguwu: Nations like China and Russia are lining their pockets through our mineral resources.

Executive director Farai Maguwu has urged the government to re-negotiate the mining agreements it has made with some foreign investors, who he accuses of using the political crisis to take advantage of Zimbabwe’s mineral wealth.

Maguwu said agreements with China and Russia were based purely on political solidarity. “There is a plethora of bad decisions and corruption that have ensured that our mineral wealth benefits other countries and not ourselves,” he added.

“Targeted restrictions imposed against the Zanu (PF) government by the west resulted in the party making friends with nations like China and Russia, who are lining their pockets through our mineral resources, but not to the benefit of Zimbabweans.”


Maguwu blamed the Zanu (PF) government for engaging these nations without a plan. “This enabled them to take advantage of the international isolation of Zimbabwe to negotiate terrible deals and loot this country at will,” he said, adding that foreign mineral investments over the past decade have been highly controversial and resulted in little employment creation or revenue generation.

“There is a worsening level of poverty in areas where these companies are extracting resources from. There has been a lot of extraction of resources and at the same time there is no upliftment of the communities,” Maguwu added.

This includes Russian firm DTZ-OZGEO (Pvt) Limited, a joint venture initiative between the Development Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ) and a Russian company, Econedra Limited. “The environmental catastrophe that is unfolding in Penhalonga is unprecedented. And we don’t know where the gold is going,” said Maguwu.

Top investor

China leads Zimbabwe’s top foreign investors with investments of $374.8 million approved by Zimbabwe Investment Authority in 2013. Russia is second with approvals worth US$40.1 million.

DTZ-OZGEO has said there is no need to publicise its gold and diamond sale figures as it is a small private business.

In an interview last week a company official said its mining operations were above board and transparent and that it had done a lot for the communities in which it operated – including giving computers to schools, building the RG Mugabe Orphanage at St Augustine’s mission and providing employment for 400 locals.

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