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Informal Mining and Family Vulnerability in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe


Informal Mining and Family Vulnerability in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe


Advocacy for Human Dignity and Integrity of Creation

Elias O. Opongo, SJ (Ed.)


I would like to sincerely thank all the authors and researchers who worked tirelessly to produce the chapters that make up this book. This book could not have been possible without the participation and partnerships with researchers, mining companies, informal miners, local government administrators, community leaders, churches, Arrupe College, Harare, Zimbabwe; Hekima Institute of Peace and International Relations (HIPSIR), Nairobi, Kenya; Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Mutare, Zimbabwe, and the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR), Lusaka, Zambia. We particularly thank Getrude Chimange, Fr. Charles Chilufya, Paidamoyo Bindura, Carine Umutoniwase, Delina King’asya, Elisha Mwaringa and Catherine Amenya.
We are grateful to the CAFOD administration for the financial support and encouragement in the course of this research. MISEREOR and Arrupe College provided institutional support.
We also appreciate the valuable hard work by the Coordination Office of the Africa Forum for Catholic Social Teaching (AFCAST), Mrs Dadirai Chikwekwete and Sr Janice McLaughlin(MM), which was crucial in realizing this work.
Lastly, we are grateful to all the people who participated in the AFCAST workshops, for their contributions and all members of the AFCAST Working Group for their deep commitment to justice and peace in the regions of Southern and Eastern Africa.
Elias Omondi Opongo, SJ


Bishop Frank Nubuasah, SVD*

The informal mining sector, the subject of this book, is an international phenomenon that is especially prevalent in areas where there is poverty and unemployment. It provides a source of income for millions of people worldwide. Although it is risky and dangerous work, small-scale miners feel that they have no other option. When one lives in a survival mode, the side effects of environmental destruction and the breakup of families are not in the forefront of one’s concerns.
Small-scale mining is very widespread on the African continent. Not only is the continent rich in mineral resources but it also has a young population that is largely unemployed and, therefore, poor. The informal mining sector attracts many with its promise of wealth and the ease of self-employment. Although it is mostly illegal, the struggle to survive often outweighs the hazards and risks involved. My adopted country, Botswana, is largely financed by its minerals, diamonds being in the forefront, followed by copper, gold, nickel. This abundance is a blessing as the resources have been used well to develop the country. Informal mining is not known in the country because of strict regulations. We cannot say the same for other countries in Africa.

This study focuses on the informal mining sector in specific areas of Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The case studies contained in this volume link the reality of small-scale mining with the Church’s option for the poor with special reference to the impact on family life and on the environment. The Church on the African continent has a wealth of teaching on the key role that the family plays in safeguarding culture and values and in promoting the dignity of human life. In fact, the African Synod of 1994 chose to use the model of family as its image for the Church, referring to the Church as God’s Family. Yet, the informal mining sector poses grave threats to family life as the case studies contained in this volume confirm. Crime, prostitution, alcoholism, drug addiction and domestic violence, fueled by poverty and despair, are prevalent in most of the cases presented here.

In addition to the threat to family life, small-scale mining poses a major threat to the environment. In all three studies, environmental degradation was widespread. In the case of the Kenyan Coast, areas that had been mined were now a wasteland that would be difficult to reclaim. The slag heap, called Black Mountain, that is the focus of the study in Kitwe, Zambia, is itself an environmental disaster. Marange in Manicaland, Zimbabwe, has also suffered greatly from the diamond mining in the area. The local community has not benefitted from the wealth under the soil but instead is suffering from the deadly offshoots that include polluted rivers and barren land.

Environmental concerns are a more recent focus of the Church’s Social Teaching. Pope Benedict XVI spoke out strongly in Africae Munus (AM), the Apostolic Exhortation after the 2009 Synod for Africa on the need to respect creation and the ecosystem as one of the conditions necessary for human life to flourish.

“Some business men and women, governments and financial groups are involved in programs of exploitation which pollute the environment and cause unprecedented desertification,” he declared. “Serious damage is done to nature, to the forests, to flora and fauna, and countless species risk extinction….” (AM 80) This is surely the case in the mining areas under observation in this volume, where nature is exploited as well as the miners. Pope Benedict concludes with a plea to church leaders to take action to protect their natural resources, stating: “I call upon the Church in Africa to encourage political leaders to protect such fundamental goods as land and water for the human life of present and future generations and for peace between peoples.” (AM 80)

More recently, the prophetic call of Pope Francis in Laudato Si (LS) to care for our common home, the planet Earth on which we live, requires a new model of development and a “global ecological conversion”. The document also stresses the right to work as the best means to combat poverty. “Helping the poor financially must always be a provisional solution in the face of pressing needs. The broader objective should always be to allow
them a dignified life through work” (LS 128). It is clear from reading the comments by the small-scale miners themselves that this is their fervent desire. They want nothing more than to be able to support their families and are forced into the informal mining sector by lack of jobs in the formal sector.

Pope Francis stresses the interconnection between care for the Earth and care for the poor. Ecological concerns are also human concerns he explains. In moving terms, the document declares: “Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” (LS 49)

This small book allows us to hear the cries of both. The research and this publication are the first steps in a process that is intended to improve the lives of small-scale miners and their families as well as to protect the environment. It is not sufficient to know the facts without taking action. At present, the research shows that very little is being done in this regard. The study puts forward suggestions from the miners themselves as well as from local officials, churches and non-governmental and civil society organizations (NGOs and CSOs). The next step will be to carry out advocacy based on the information contained in these pages so that the miners and their families may have a decent quality of life.

The African Forum for Catholic Social Teaching (AFCAST) carried out this study with funding by CAFOD (Catholic Fund for Overseas Development). AFCAST is a regional network of men and women who, in the words of their Mission Statement: “strive to popularize and contextualize the social teachings by supporting and strengthening the capacity of those involved in developing and implementing it at all levels of the church and society.” In other words, they seek to shed the light of the social teachings on current critical issues in East and Southern Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa). Since its foundation in 2001, AFCAST tackled such issues as trafficking and migration, Christian-Muslim dialog, elections and governance and women in conflict resolution to name but a few.

AFCAST is grateful to CAFOD for funding this study and to the researchers who carried it out under the leadership of Fr. Elias Omondi, SJ, coordinator of AFCAST and Director of Hekima Institute for Peace Studies and International Relations in Nairobi, Kenya. I can confirm that the study is indeed relevant and timely. The need for unified action to care for the poor as well as for the earth is required not only in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe but throughout the African continent.

Over the last 15 years, the artisanal small mining sector (ASM) has grown dramatically and is now in about 50 countries (World Bank, 2008), especially in the rural areas of Africa, Latin America, and Asia, producing employment and generating income for local economies. It has become one of the most important economic activities in generating direct and indirect income for millions of poor people (Alliance for Responsible Mining, 2013). The Fairtrade Foundation Report (2015) established that there were 100 million people worldwide in the ASM sector, which is characterized by high levels of poverty. The poor and vulnerable across the world are driven to ASM where agriculture or other activities are simply not viable.An artisanal and small-scale miner is self-employed, or perhaps linked to a local community, mining group, co-operative, or ASM organization.

An artisanal and small-scale mining can also refer to minimal or no mechanization, and often in the informal (illegal) sector of the market. Those involved are usually poor, vulnerable men, women, and children driven to artisanal mining for survival (Fairtrade, 2015).Fairtrade describes ASM as a pyramid, where new individual miners and families enter daily at the bottom, and either scavenge for a time and then leave or become settled and organize, climbing the ladder towards formalized mining operations at the top. But in most developing countries formalization is rare in the informal mining sectors and generations of families get stuck at the bottom.

Now attention is being turned to the impact on the family unit in this growing endeavor. The majority of those engaged in informal mining are there because they were exposed to mining at an early age or because their parents or siblings were miners. According to the International Labor Organization, between a million and a million and a half children, evenly split between boys and girls under 18 years of age, work at small-scale mining. Also, in the 12 poorest countries of the world there are 650,000 women doing informal mining (World Bank, 2008). Widespread research has been conducted on the effects of small-scale mining on the family unit, and the extension of this research into three ASM mining areas in Africa is the topic of this report. The report does not aim to establish general conclusions but to assist in the task of advocacy, government policy review, social intervention,and further research in a way specific to each area.

In May 2015 the African Forum for Catholic Social Teaching (AFCAST) carried out research entitled “Family Vulnerability in the Informal Mining Sector” focusing on Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Zambia. The general objective of the research was to collect proposals that respond to the challenges faced by families in the informal mining sector, and by environmental degradation in each place. The research was guided by the Catholic Social Teaching principle of protection of family life and human dignity. The recent III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops convoked by Pope Francis on 8 October 2013 family emerged as an important unit to protect, one that is under constant threats. Hence, this research highlights the importance of protecting vulnerable families working in the informal mining sector.

The research administered questionnaire to 60 individuals in each of the three countries. AFCAST members conducted the research and continue to work with Catholic professionals in advocating for improved living and working conditions and protection of the ecosystem. It is hoped that religious institutions, community leaders, government, and academia will continue this discourse and find long-term solutions to these problems.

ASM Artisanal and small-scale mining
AFCAST African Forum for Catholic Social Teaching
CSO Civil society organisations
NGO Non-governmental organisation
UNDP United Nations Development Program


Contextual Overview
Informal mining is well spread out in Africa and recently formal mining has taken over making Africa one of the most lucrative destinations for the exploration of natural resources. In Zambia where mining started in early 1930s, the mining industry has expanded contributing significantly to the national economy of the country. Up to 2003 the mining sector in Zambia contributed more than 60% ($730 million) of the country’s revenue, and for a long time Zambia has produced 10% of the world copper. The privatization of the formal mining sector has drastically affected families in Zambia. The economic and social outcome of this privatization has led to “ a sharp decline in the enjoyment of certain rights for a number of persons and their families who had previously been dependent directly or otherwise on the mining industry for income and/or the provision of certain essential services “ (SARPN).

In the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) comprising of Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the mining sector contributes to 22 percent of the entire regional output. This amounts to US$ 92 billion, subsequently contributing to over 3.23 million jobs within the region. and provides 3.2 million jobs to the people within the region (SARW, 2009, p.19).

Within the informal mining areas in Zambia, child labour is common, often exposing children to health dangers and early marriages. Nyumbu and Poulsen (2009, pp.3-4) warn that often: “What is less recognised are the broader effects on children’s psychological and moral development that comes from growing up in an environment where the dream, and sometimes reality of ‘fast cash’ through the ‘big find’ is a defining feature.” The authors add that there are also prevalent cases of prostitution, early marriages, family abuse, fast spread of the HIV/AIDS, among other vices. These situations entrench poverty and vulnerability among these populations.

In Zimbabwe, the collapse of the economy in 2008 led to the rapid increase in the small sale informal mining. Small-scale mining peaked in 2008 with the collapse of the formal economy. For example, in the southern part of Zimbabwe gold panning has become a common practice earning many families their daily income. However, this activity has led to serious damage of the environment. Although people in southern Matabeleland have resorted to gold panning as a means of livelihood generation, this activity has resulted in considerable damage to the environment. Mabhena (2012:223) notes that “gold panners have destroyed the environment through the unsafe depositing of mercury into the rivers when the panners wash their gold, forest clearing and lack of rehabilitation of dug pits.” In Chiadzwa, the diamond fields have congregated small scale miners in search for livelihoods. However, this has also become “a site for mutations of socio-cultural representations. The fields are an arena of socio-cultural struggles and representations, which are reflective of the macro political and economic quagmires faced by Zimbabwe.” The politicized nature of the informal mining sector in Zimbabwe poses a major threat to the security and economic sustainability of the affected families (Katsaura, 2010: 101). Katsaura (2010:102) further adds that there have been cross-cultural tensions between the ‘indegenous’ and ‘foreigners’: those coming from “Mutare Central, Mutare South, Mutare North, Chimanimani, Chipinge, Mutasa, and Nyanga, are regarded as the rightful beneficiaries of diamond resources in Chiadzwa. Those who come from Chiadzwa, Gamunorwa, Mukwada, Chipindirwi, Betera, Muedzengwa, and Nyazika kraals in Marange area are the ones who have a direct connection to the diamond fields and make staunch claims of ownership and entitlement to the diamond fields.” The working conditions at the mines are poor with high rates of immorality, prostitution and early marriages.

In Kenya, the Migori gold mines have attracted many local people to invest their energies in search of the precious mine. Most of the mines are poorly constructed plunging down three hundred feet. The working conditions are generally very poor, with high rates of respiratory track infection due to poor ventilation in the mines. There is also high prevalence of the HIV, particularly given that the Nyanza region where Migori is located has HIV rate of close to 10%. Besides, due to “poor equipment and lack of government regulations, miners in Migori district also operate in poorly ventilated, infection-prone environments” (Think Africa Press). The residues from the mines have led to intoxication of the local water subjecting the community to serious health risks. Artisanal gold mining is also present in Turkana and Siaya counties. In Taita and Sagalla Hills as well as Kwale region, the mining of gemstones has turned out to be lucrative despite dangers to health, family life and environment. Kwale county is said to have one of the largest quantities of the rare earth mineral deposits worth more than $62.4 billion (UNDP, 2014).

Elias O. Opongo, SJ

Research methodology

Study location            Sample size
Ng’ombeni                 7
MajiyaChumvi            10
Mazeras                    13
Msambweni               5
Mwereni                    12
Ukunda                     9
Kwale town                4

In Kenya 60 interviews were conducted in Coastal Kenya, Kwale County in Ng’ombeni, Msambweni, Mwereni, MajiyaChumvi, Mazeras, Ukunda, and Kwale town. Kwale County has a potential for mineral exploration estimated at $62.4 billion. Currently silica sands for the manufacture of glass are being exploited at Ng’ombeni and Msambweni,coal mining takes place at MajiyaChumvi, and there are sand stones in Mazeras. There are rare earth miners in Mwereni, which is yet to be exploited by the formal mining sector. Most government, religious, and civil society officials are located in Ukunda and Kwale town.

Interviews were conducted with individuals working in the informal mining sector, their family members, NGOs,and civil society and religious groups in the mining area.Eighty percent of the respondents were men. This was attributed to the patriarchal culture of coastal society, hindering women from freely expressing their views.

Date collection and objectives
Interviewing was employed as the main data-collection method. Research assistants were required to conduct face-to-face interviews guided by the research objectives, and were encouraged to add their observations to the data collected. Also, a focused-group discussion was held in Mwereni. The findings were strengthened by secondary data of existing literature on informal mining in Africa, especially in Kenya. The research aimed at providing descriptions of the lives of informal mining workers and their families, and was directed toward the following research objectives:
* to examine the existing types of informal mining,
* to study the motivating factors to working in the informal mining sector.
* to study the family benefits of working in this sector,
* to examine the social challenges faced by families working in the sector,
* to identify the visible threats to family life,
* to identify existing advocacy activities against poor working conditions in the sector.

The situation in Kwale County

This study was conducted in 7 different locations in the Kwale County: Ng’ombeni, Mwereni, Ukunda, Kwale town, Msambweni, Maji ya Chumvi, and Mazeras. The informal mining products obtained in all these areas were limited to building materials, sand (mchanga), ballast (kokoto), hardcore (ngurunga or mapande), saruji or kifusi (smaller chips of stone, a by-product of stonecutting), magalana (natural tile-like blocks of stone), and coral blocks (matofali).

Areas of mining activity in Kwale County but not included in this research included limestone at Waa, gemstones in Taveta, and titanium at Nguluku and Mrima, as well as exploitation of silica sands. Companies such as Coast Calcium Limited, Base Titanium Limited, Milli Glass Limited, Kenya Breweries Glass Limited, and Eastern Chemicals are heavily involved in these mining activities in the county (UNDP, 2014).

Despite the valuable materials being mined, the workers live in mud-walled shacks/huts that are vulnerable to harsh weather. Visible signs of abject poverty and desperation are all around in weather-beaten frames and blank stares.One miner from Ng’ombeni with 30 years of experience declared: “Even if you work for 10 years mining it’s hard to get something tangible. The only benefit for the family is feeding them.”What then drives these individuals to engage in small-scale mining?

Motivating factors
Despite the harsh conditions in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), some of the respondents interviewed cited having worked in the mines for over 5 years, with 30 years being tops.The man with 30 years experience said mining was the only work he could do, adding: “Mining is the work I did most and it was consistent, I wouldn’t be stopped.” This in spite of his previously working as a security guard at Power Light Company. The majority said mining was better work than their previous jobs. A 20-year-old wife of a miner stated: “When he got sick he was let off work due to absence and he joined the mines. There he gets money even though the work is not easy.” A 49-year-old father of six, with over 12 years experience in the informal mining sector, said he was a polytechnic-trained welder and liked the welding but employers and sometimes customers did not want to pay him promptly. Also with mining he doesn’t have to spend on transport and overnight housing but works near home, and is not away for days or weeks as with his welding job. Regardless of the harsh conditions, these individuals prefer informal mining because of its financial benefits.

An artisanal and small-scale miner is self-employed, or perhaps linked to a local community, mining group, co-operative, or ASM organization. Artisanal and small-scale mining can also refer to minimal or no mechanization, and often in the informal (illegal) sector of the market. Those involved are usually poor, vulnerable men, women, and children driven to artisanal mining for survival (Fairtrade Foundation, 2015). But youth also enter the informal mining sector for quick money and unlimited wealth. A nineteen-year-old wife to a miner said: “He didn’t have money, plus he is a primary school dropout; there is no other work he could do.”

From the data collected it is evident that poverty and lack of better alternatives for earning a living drew the respondents into mining. A 43-year-old, female community leader in Ng’ombeni asserts that school dropouts find solace in mining after failing to secure employment elsewhere. Having been widowed very early into her marriage, she laments that many in the informal mining sector are school dropouts. For instance, at the age of 22 Abdi started mining when he was in class 3 of primary school, so by the time he had finished class 8 he was seasoned enough and found ready employment in the informal mining sector. Many of the interviewees boasted of only being able to put a plate on the table.

A 21-year-old, standard dropout is the father of two children (3-year-old boy and 1-year-old girl) and works as a bodaboda rider, besides being an informal mining worker. He started working in the mines at age 9 driven by poverty. He is grateful to the mines because he now owns 8 goats and a 3-roomed semi-permanent house accommodating his wife, children, and two siblings. Similarly, a woman from Rabai at Timboni mining in Mazeras stated: “We started watering the sand and decided to start mining; these are the kinds of work meant for us.” A typical comment came from a 21-year-old miner at Ng’ombeni: “I didn’t have money and I was idle at home.”The paramount factors that drove these individuals to mining were poverty coupled with unemployment, as 8 out of every 10 respondents reiterated this point. In addition, the lack of proper education rendered them vulnerable, since no academic skills are required. Also, mining provides the self-employment that many yearn for, as stated by this 51-year-old from Mazeras: “Mining is better because I am self-employed.”

The four government officials interviewed said that part of the motivating factor to informal mining wasemployment and daily upkeep, along with the monetary gains.An official from the Ministry of Public Health who has over 30 years’ work experience in the area said: “Most miners are school drop-outs, fishermen, and peasant farmers who have been displaced from their original homes.” Where civil societies and government officials seem not to see improvements in life situations, miners do, pointing out that their lives have changed over time for the better, despite marginal income, often less than some earned before.

Family benefits
Some spoke of family benefits as minimal, provision of basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. A 20-year-old wife of a miner in MajiyaChumvi cited that “the family condition has changed because he brings money home and we are able to eat.” A 32-year-old miner, father of 2 from Msambweni added that “there is no big change but at least I can buy food for my family.” The response most often heard is that small-scale mining is essential for survival. Out of every 10 respondents, 4 cited no changes in family life and the rest mostly mentioned facility in feeding their families. In addition, access to education was cited as one of the benefits to the family as stated by a 43-year-old father of 2: “To be honest there has been an improvement, I am able to take my children to school and make a payment for their fees; I can sell my stones 4 times in a week and take the money directly to their school. The money I used to get at the end of the month was not enough.”

For most, the mining income is too meager to fundamentally change their family situation. But some have the smarts, ingenuity, and opportunity to reap further benefits. Twenty-four-year-old Tsuma William from MajiyaChumvi, former houseboy, father of one, and bodaboda owner who doubles as a miner and bought a small food kiosk for his wife, said that he got all that from the mines, after saving for close to 7 years. He says that if you save, plan, budget, and prioritize your needs, the income from mining can better your situation. However, 7 out of 10 respondentssaid that they live from hand-to-mouth and will go for close to a month without any income, which eats up any savings they might have.

The socio-economic condition for families may change minimally or not at all, as exemplified by a 28-year-old man from Msambweni who has been mining for two years but is still dependent on his parents. And a 19-year-old woman married to a miner of 10 years stated: “There is no change as the income is minimal.” The only female miner interviewed has 14 children, and stated: “There isn’t much change because you may not get money on a daily basis; the lorry might come to you today and the other day to someone else.”

But a goodly number were able to start small businesses or buy livestock to build on their mining income. With mining money at MajiyaChumvi, one opened a small restaurant and bought a solar panel with which he charges phones for his customers at a fee; he also saved money to raise the bride price for his wife. Others mentioned that from savings they were able to open small groceries, kiosks, and hotels, or buy livestock. A 52-year-old government officer who occasionally works in the mines said: “I have not started any business but I bought 10 goats and now they are more. There is a boy here who has managed to buy 2 cows from mining work.” Similarly, a 20-year-old miner’s wife said: “He bought goats and 3 cows; when we have no money he sells them.”

Other noted benefits included paying the dowry for their wives and continuing education for their many children, as well as buying uniforms and school books. A 51-year-old father of 5 from Mazeras began by saying: “I haven’t managed businesswise; the money from this job is short-lived because of school fees, food, clothes, and such small things.” But he also said: “The condition of my family has improved because, for example, I got my wife’s dowry from here and my children are all in school. It has improved very much, I have a child in class 3 and when she did her 1st-term exam she was number one. This job has enabled me to pay for an academy school and the results are different from what she used to get in school. She is fluent in English unlike those who attend government schools.” A 20-year-miner’s wife and mother of two stated: “They haven’t started going to school but mining work will help him educate the children.” This shows some of the hope that the mines give to these individuals.

The research was conducted in the coastal region of Kenya which is viewed as a cultural and religious region. This hampered the responses obtained regarding violence in society. The respondents would simply state that there is no violence or that domestic violence is a family matter that the rest know little about. Out of 21 respondents from various areas (Kwale town, Mazeras, Ukunda, MajiyaChumvi) in Kwale county, 19 reported that there is no violence in their area that they are aware of. This could be partly because of the religious teachings and the Islamic culture that prohibits wife-beating and violence. However, an officer from Kwale County Natural Resources Network who had worked 10 years in the area said 20-30% violence is reported by their counterpart network, Kwale Human Rights Network. A 53-year-old government official from Mazeras stated that domestic and societal violence are present. Examples would be when men get drunk they may fight with their wife or leave her, or when one is injured in a fight his family lacks food and his children are chased away from school.

The study found that most visible threats to the family are health risks to the bread winner, who is mostly the miner. A 35-year-old miner from Msambweni observes: “Mining brings a lot of sickness such as fever and frequently flu.” And from a 20-year-old miner’s wife: “Sometimes the stones cut him which stops him from working, meaning he can’t bring anything home. He also has a problem with his hands but he still works in the mines to provide for the children.” Working with bare hands without protective gear or medical cover is a critical challenge as miners are exposed to accidents. Chisels sometimes fly and could land on somebody. Hitting ones leg or hand with a tool is very common and sometimes one can stay home for days nursing an injury, but one must go back as soon as possible if only to earn bread for the family. A 21-year-old from Ng’ombeni who had been mining for 5 months stated: “When you first start you get sick a lot with flu and chest pains but when you get used to it and take milk you go on.”Many concurred on issues of health: injuries from cutting stones and chest pains from bending for long hours while working the whole day. A 47-year-old miner from Msambweni described his injuries: “I had back ache which made me stay home for almost two years without working. There are no working hours here.” According to a 51-year-old miner from Mazeras the biggest problem is that mining is dangerous: if you finish safe thank God, the tools are dangerous as well. He also pointed out that the stones bring diseases and that one is prone to tuberculosis. Mining is a high-risk activity and miners face a multitude of hazards daily. A 53-year-old government official and part-time miner explains that “The most common challenge is health, like chest pains and kidney problems, because during mining you inhale the dust and it goes to your lungs and kidneys; for example there is a man who recently got operated on due to kidney problems.”

A 32-year-old, single father of two from Mazeras, with close to 12 years experience, said his wife left him because he suffered from asthma and ulcers and could not fend for his family at that time, but he is grateful that he is back in the mines. In this respect, the study found that most threats to the family are due to poverty that leads the families into hardships that especially affect the children. A 28-year-old miner from Msambweni cited that two of his sisters had been impregnated due to poverty at home. In addition, a 47-year-old miner also from Msambweni stated: “There are health risks such as flu, and others such as high school dropout due to hardship at home.”

There were varied responses from the different groups interviewed, (CSOs, government officials, and informal mining workers). According to an officer from the social services sector, there is a high rate of divorce cases which can be attributed to the practice of polygamy in Islam. All four officials interviewed agreed that the rate of early marriages is very high. However, two of them said that early marriages had kept down the rate of prostitution. A 32-year-old miner from Msambweni lamented that most risks are health-related, along with early marriage for two of his sisters. In that regard, our youngest respondent was a pregnant 14-year-old married to a miner.Two of the government officials decried many social ills, including prostitution, along the coastal line. One official from public health recounted mental problems caused by hard drugs and a high rate of HIV infection along the coastal line due to prostitution. He attributed prostitution to the poverty rate in the area.

Alcohol and drugs
A 70-year-old elder in Ukunda mentioned a proclivity toward alcohol consumption among the old men, especially the local brew Mnazi tapped from the coconut tree. It relieves pressure, reduces stress, and helps them relax after the hard days’ work. Respondents from Mazeras and MajiyaChumvi agreed that the older generation preferred Mnazi consumption as their pass-time activity. A 43-year-old miner from Mazeras said: “It does affect the family. Let’s say one gets money and rushes to spend it on alcohol without planning for his home and by the time he gets home the shops are closed and his family suffers that day.” Since Islam restricts alcohol use, youths turn to drugs. They are greatly involved in bhang smoking, marijuana, the “booster” as they call it, to give them strength while they work. Older respondents held that drug and substance abuse was rampant among youth ages 14 to 35.A 57-year-old village chairperson in Ng’ombeni said it was common to see young people smoking bhang along the pathways and at home as though it was an ordinary cigarette. She said that at the mines this was the norm because they believed it energizes them to do more work. The majority agreed that youth are the most vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse. A 51-year-old miner from Mazeras explained: “Mostly the youth, only a few of them don’t engage in the use of bhang, miraa, and alcohol.”A 47-year-old miner from Msambweni said that there are cases of school drop-outs, laziness by children, increase in theft cases, and low birth rates since youths are mostly involved in drug cases. Lack of respect for parents by youth was also cited as an effect of drug and alcohol abuse. The lure into a “high life” exposes youth to miraa eating, and they come to leave their families to languish in poverty and despondency.

Most miners sell at the mine site to maximize the time spent mining, and in small volume usually at the end of the day, to meet their immediate basic needs. The need to sell on a regular basis prevents them from accumulating larger volumes which might attract higher prices (Fairtrade Foundation, 2015). The highest pay among the respondents interviewed was US$253 per month or US$8 a day, after working more than 8 hours under hazardous conditions. There are situations when demand is low and they must sell at a throwaway price if only to get something to eat. A former county geologist in Kwale laments that middlemen purchase silica sand at a mere Kshs 3,000-5,000 per lorry then sell it at the glass factories at Ksh 100,000 (UNDP, 2014).The miners’ access to markets is limited and they rarely receive a fair price for their product. Furthermore, they are at the bottom of a long and complex supply chain over which they have little control (Fairtrade Foundation, 2015). The respondents cited that middle men exploit them at times because of their desperate situation. Unfair pricing is exhibited by a 43-year miner from Mazeras who states: “Sometimes someone might want you to work on credit and then they don’t come back to pay or they change the price you had earlier agreed.” A 53-year-old miner from Mazeras points out: “There is minimal equipment for working in the mines and they are not modern. There is also limited market and individual miners have low wages, for example, per block you get paid 500/= and you’re expected to complete one layer which has 20 blocks hence you earn 10,000/=.” The economic problem is increased by health needs, as indicated by a 32-year-old single father from Mazeras: “There is not enough money from the mines to take care of my chest problem, and so I end up getting medicine from the nearby chemist to take care of the pain, knowing very well the danger of self-prescription but I have no other choice, since it helps ease down the pain.”

Besides the serious health and safety risks for workers, small-scale mining can cause extreme damage to the environment (Hentschel et al., 2003). At Mazeras the researchers were able to see the environmental effect of mining at an abandoned site at the periphery. Lying bare, the abandoned site casts an eye of accusation at the miners and probably sympathizes with the current mine under excavation. The area is a vivid representation of environmental degradation. Vegetation was cleared to expose sand and rocks. Coconut and cashew nut trees, cash crops in these areas, are felled and the sand beneath them scooped away. The rock below is chopped and dug out for market, creating a lasting scar. Farming areas are being reduced at a very high rate, risking a scramble for the little space remaining and causing socio-economic insecurity. A miner expressed fear that they will soon have nowhere to mine because everything is being depleted.

Despite the challenges, some of the respondents have devised ways of getting solutions. But this study observed that the bigger majority (21 out of 37) have accepted the status quo and see no alternative, as expressed by a 32-year-old father of 2 from Msambweni: “There are no solutions for these challenges unless I leave this job.” A 24- year-old miner, father of two from MajiyaChumvi found this solution: “I take a 1-3 week break from mining
to work as a bodaboda rider because this work is very hard and can make you grow old if you don’t give yourself a break, but this break also depends on the income you get from the previous sale of sand/stones and your family needs.” An asthmatic miner from Mazerasconcurred: “I take alternative jobs when my health condition can’t allow me to mine and work for Tandaza construction as a casual labourer when I want to take a break, because you cannot entirely rest, as your family and relatives who depend on you for everything have to be taken care of.”

Generally speaking, rather than stimulatingeconomic development, reliance on resource extraction has tended to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a few, exacerbate corruption and inequalities, and lead to environmental degradation and pollution, while doing little to reduce poverty and economic disparities and generate employment (UNDP, 2014). Issues raised by artisan miners and community representatives in Kwale County include: poor infrastructure affecting their activities, poor prices for their products, and low quality of building blocks due to lack of modern equipment for cutting.

Although, almost all those responding (31 out of 37) had not heard of any intervention mechanisms and advocacy strategies to improve the working and living conditions for families in these areas, an officer from the Ministry of Mining reported that there is a bill in the Senate that will address the various issues, and that there is an awareness program that will be rolled out in the month of August 2015, run by the national government in conjunction with the county government to change their livelihood. This is not something most respondents are aware of, as a 43-year-old miner from Mazeras lamented: “To be honest, no one has come here to speak for us or educate us; everyone is on their own.”

This last may be the scariest of conclusions. If government is not working for the good of all the people then actions taken may lead only to further problems. Experience advises against tampering with peoples’ livelihood without a knowledge of the implications. Some considerations here are the negative multiplier effect if employment is lost through formalization and mechanization. When miners lose their livelihood those in the food chain, transport, and education are also affected. As to the ecological effects, the depths of the minerals in each locale needs study: how soon will an area be left a barren moonscape of no use to anyone? Mining beneath trees which break up the stone raises the question of how available minerals are in the area.

Immediate attention should be given to middle-men who are exploiting the miners and realizing exorbitant profits. Then some restrictions on miners might come, with legalization of claims, limits on areas open to mining, and laws to preserve the ecology. These are just a few considerations demanding immediate attention. One further consideration is how altruistic government is at various levels, and how fair in distributing costs and benefits in the system. Another is whether stark differences in comments are due more to the promise in different regions or to the talents and initiative of the individual miners. But one cannot ignore the control over their lives which comes with self-employment.

* Provision of protective equipment
One recommendation, from CSOs and government officials, was provision of protective gear such as gloves, masks, and boots. However, mining workers in Mazeras found this unrealistic: “We do not need gloves or gumboots while working here because you can’t hold a chisel with gloves and walk in gumboots, as they both will slide. We are used to working with bare feet and using our bare hands.” A 44-year-old, male worker from the area suggested “they get us machines that will help cut these stones and maybe make the roads, then they will have helped us a great deal.”

* Institutionalisation of cooperatives and Saccos
Government officials emphasized that formation and institutionalization of Saccos (savings and credit coops) would enable workers to receive loans.

* Capacity building for informal mining workers
An officer from Kwale County Natural Resources Network said the county government had allocated 13 million to capacity-building which is highly needed for the empowerment of the miners. To induce the artisanal miners to form groups there needs to be more education on the importance of working as groups and the consequent benefits. A 35-year-old miner from Msambweni confirmed: “Kwale county government wanted people to form cooperatives and open accounts so that they can be assisted.” But simply wanting the people to form these groups will not do. The majority of them are illiterate and ignorant of what formalization
means; they need education and advocacy on the potential improvement of benefits for ASM, and regulation to ensure all provisions for the safety of the miners are adhered to. A 70-year-old Kaya elder said: “Organizations like yours should assist in helping create alternative jobs and educate our people on the importance of saving and how to access the UwezoFund that we are hearing about because we don’t know what it’s all about and yet we would like to get it too.”

* Advocacy on formalizing the informal mining sector
The respondents pointed out that there should be persistence and consistency in advocacy aimed at taking small-scale artisanal activities as an enterprise and supporting development policies that in turn will increase partnerships and the interests of different actors. A 53-year-old government official and part-time miner from MajiyaChumvi said: “As a government we arrange community meetings (barazas) where we urge the youths to register as groups so that they get aid from microfinance companies and UwezoFund. They are a few who have gotten such help though.” If miners organize and reinvest in their activities they can move into the formal mining sector which is legally recognized, more mechanized, and more organized, allowing them to work over a larger and deeper area and to earn a decent living (Fairtrade Report, 2015).A 43-year-old miner from Mazeras said: “There should be groups geared towards develop ment, for example, if one can contribute 200/= per week you will be able to get a loan that will help you handle other things, for instance, your children won’t be chased from school.”

The small scale miners did not make many recommendations, perhaps because they have succumbed to the status quo and feel neglected and forgotten, as mentioned by the chairman of the Ngoyo self-help group, “I am not sure if what we want will be addressed, as we have never seen any organization, not even the government, interested in what we are doing or how we survive, as you people are the first ones.But let’s just hope that with whatever you are doing we will get accessible roads and maybe someone or the government will decide to give us aid to open businesses or get alternative jobs, because somehow with time, our energies will drain out and we will be left helpless” noted the 44-year-old chairman, based in Timboni mining area.

The few miners who gave recommendations mentioned
* access to medical insurance,
* access to loans, as for investment to supplement family income,
* provision of protective gear and modern equipment,
* instituting a fair pricing system and development groups among miners.
Little is being done by CSOs and religious institutions in terms of intervention and advocacy mechanisms. The respondents suggested that CSOs need to engage in capacity-building activities with the miners. In addition they want the government to provide loans for investment to supplement family income.

* Alliance for Responsible Mining. (2013). Approaching Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Through The Lens Of Human Rights: A Call For International Action.
* Buxton, A. (2013). Responding to the challenge of Artisanal and Small-scale Mining: How can knowledge networks help? London: IIED.
* Fairtrade Foundation. (2015). Fairtrade Gold: An Industry Briefing.
* Hentschel, T., Hruschka, F., and Priester, M. Artisanal and Small Scale Mining: Challengs and Opportunities. London: IIED, 2003.
* Shaxson, N. Poisoned Wells: The Dirty Politics of African Oil, 2007.
* UNDP. (2014). “Natural Resources Management for Sustainable Development in Kenya.” Extractive industry training workshop for CSOs, Kwale County government officials and communities. http://www.ke.undp.org/content/dam/kenya/docs/Poverty%20Reduction/Kwale%20Workshp%20Report%20-%20Final%20updated2%20%282%29.pdf
* World Bank. (2008). Issue Brief:Communities, Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining. http:/www.artisanalmining.org

Charles Chilufya, SJ

Contextual overview
This study will look at the effects of the informal mining sector on the economic, social, and moral aspects of families in Kitwe. Its purpose is to raise awareness about the extent to which the positive and negative impacts of informal mining in Zambia have affected the family unit.In Zambia, informal mining is performed without possessing the mining rights, and the mining activities are performed on land owned by a third party. Approximately 10,000 people are currently involved and depend on this informal activity. While informal mining has brought benefits to the livelihoods of many families, it can have negative impact on the social fabric, including family life. Using a case study of The Black Mountain operation in Wusakili, Kitwe, this study assesses both the positive and negative effects of informal mining in Kitwe with the aim of strengthening advocacy around the issue.

In Zambia where mining started in the early 1930s, the mining industry has expanded, contributing significantly to the national economy of the country. Up to 2003 the mining sector in Zambia contributed more than 80% (US$730 million) of the country’s revenue, and for a long time Zambia has produced 10% of the world’s copper. Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) was a parastatal conglomerate that owned and ran all copper mines in Zambia until they were privatized in 1996. The privatization of the formal mining sector has drastically affected families in Zambia. The economic and social outcome of this privatization has led to “a sharp decline in the enjoyment of certain rights for a number of persons and their families who had previously been dependent directly or otherwise on the mining industry for in- come and/or the provision of certain essential services” (SARPN – Southern African Regional Policy Network).

The situation at The Black Mountain
The city of Kitwe which hosts The Black Mountain (henceforth TBM) is located approximately 400 km north of Lusaka. It is Zambia’s second largest city and a major mining town. TBM is one of the old slag heaps left over from copper extraction during days of the government-owned ZCCM which were piled in Kitwe’s Wusakili Township by ZCCM before privatisation.The slag heap amounts to 20 to 30 million tonnes, from over 70 years of mining. It came from the smelting furnace and contains about 1-10% copper and 1% cobalt remaining, due to inferior methods of metal recovery used. However, also embedded in the slag is a “matte” which contains up to 55% copper content, and this is what informal miners usually scavenge for in the slag. The mountain is said to be a source of livelihood for more than 3,000 young men without jobs in Kitwe.

The slag heap is worked by individuals or groups of youth by simple manual methods. Their activities are classified as “informal” since they mine without mining rights or in third-party lands, and without the appropriate authorization.Still others define it as “mining at small scale,” a denomination adopted by the World Bank to refer to small-scale mining and/or formal or informal artisanal mining (Instituto de Ingenieros de Minas Del Peru 2007). Mining at TBM is not controlled or regulated by the government, and is illegal according to a mining act of 2005. It is also hazardous, with a risk of being buried alive when the caves at the mine collapse.

Critical levels of unemployment followed privatisation of the mines in the mid-nineties. This private mining initiative has employed more than 3,000 young men and benefited many families in Wusakili. Some claim that it has lowered the crime rate among youth, while others claim it has led to violence, alcohol and drug abuse, and prostitution.In addition, there have been disputes over the ownership of TBM with a private Chinese company bidding for the right to mine there. The Deputy Mines Minister and the Wusakile MP opposed the sale to a Chinese firm and in March 2015 the youth were granted access to TBM. This formal recognition by the government has resulted in an increase in the number of youth working at the site.

Research methodology
This study assesses the economic, social, and environmental impacts of informal mining at TBM on family life, both costs and benefits. The research aimed at providing descriptions of the lives of informal mining workers and their families there, and was directed toward the following research objectives:
* to study the motivating factors to working in the informal mining sector,
* to study the family benefits of working in this sector,
* to examine the social challenges faced by families working in the sector,
* to identify the visible threats to family life,
* to identify existing advocacy activities against poor working conditions in the sector.

The respondents in the interviews were at times not forthcoming in responding to questions, from fear of victimisation by those who are influential in the operation.

The research was guided by questions, not hypotheses, so that the results are descriptive and flow purely from the participants’ responses to the questions.

Information was gathered from a variety of sources, to assure that they did not share the same biases. Expert interviews, semi-structured interviews, and focus group discussions were used. A sample of 60 respondents was drawn and lined up for semi-structured interviews. Given the inductive and qualitative case study approach employed and the size of the study area, the sample size was judged adequate to establish necessary connections and make valid conclusions.

Motivating factors
All the respondents interviewed indicated the period of time they had worked at TBM. Eight indicated that they had worked for less than a year in the informal mining sector, twenty-six for a period of one to sixteen years, and the rest for more than 16 years. Some of the respondents, especially those who worked for less than a year, only came after it had been given to the residents of Wusakili Township. One of the respondents, a father of three, said: “I have worked here for two months just at the time it was legally given to the local community.” Another respondent stated: “I have worked at The Black Mountain for about 15 years in total, 14 of those years illegally.”

The study sought to establish what motivates them to work at TBM.Unemployment was the reason given by 47%: it was the only option they found to earn a living. A 35-year-old father of two stated: “I came here because of lack of employment. I was keeping my parents and I also had some dependents at home, but the income I was getting was not enough to support the family.”Another said: “I came here because of unemployment. It is difficult to get a formal job, even in the mining sector.” Related to the employment motivation, about 21% said they were working there due to poverty. A woman in a focus group discussion said: “I came because of poverty and financial problems at home. I needed money to make ends meet.” It is clear that unemployment and poverty have greatly contributed to people in Kitwe’s Wusakili Township working at TBM. Some said TBM was the only available job they found.

Youth unemployment in Zambia is high, averaging over 10%, with underemployment (less than 48 hours a week) reaching 60%. Many find the informal mining sector more profitable than their previous jobs.The majority (37 out of 54) said they were self-employed before, doing piecework or having no job at all. One said: “I was previously self-employed. I used to sell assorted merchandise in Wusakili, … farm products such as beans, maize and groundnuts.” An important factor was privatization of the mines in the late 1990s that led to loss of jobs, as indicated by one father of three.Of those interviewed 17.6% had been employed and lost their jobs for various reasons.

Among the workers at TBM are numerous youths who have dropped out of school for various reasons, ranging from inability to pay school fees to freely deciding to engage in income-earning activity. A 27-year-old said he did so after grade 11. Another of similar age added: “Most male youths leave school to come and work in the mine.”

In Zambia, the process of privatisation was not very well handled, and led to the collapse of many good industries that provided quality jobs. There was a lack of availability of good alternative jobs for young people and jobs like informal mining turned out to be among the best. So it is not surprising that the majority (34 out of 58) said the work was better than what they did before, with a 27-year-old saying that instead of waiting for month-end paydays, there’s everyday infl ow of money. “I used to earn K540 per month at a shop where I used to work. I now make more than K7500 per month at The Black Mountain.” But a few decried it as low quality work, with 21% describing what they did before as better. A 40-year-old remarked: “I was a farmer. The work I did in the past was better than working at The Black Mountain, therefore, I have decided to just raise capital from here and go back to my previous work.” The question was not answered by 29% of the respondents.

Family benefits
As to socio-economic benefi ts to the family from informal mining, 65% said it brought an improvement. A 35-year-old male explained: “There’s more income for the family so obviously there’s more food on the family table and we are now able to afford things that we couldn’t aff ord.” A female respondent who said two of her sons had been mining forthree years stated: “I am a widow. My husband died more than 10 years ago and I struggled to feed the family. But ever since the two started working at The Black Mountain there has been more income for the family and we are able to pay the bills and make ends meet.”

But roughly 15% said they had seen no improvement. “There are no improvements. I used to earn about K6000 (US$100) in the carpentry shop but now I earn about K1000 (US$16) per month. I am only working here because the shop was grabbed from me.” Earnings vary widely, depending on the quality (amount of matte) and the going rate. There were 12% with a monthly income of less than K1000, and as low as K800. A seasoned miner explained: “My income largely depends on the price of copper. I sell at 50 ngwee per kilogram (US$1 = K60) then I make about K200 per week when business is good.” A third of the respondents (32.4%) said their monthly income was between K1000 and K10,000. A male with a family of six said: “I currently make about K2500–K3000 a month so I am able to comfortably pay the bills and make ends meet for the family.” And 11.8% reported earning of more than K5000, with one saying: “I used to earn about K1000 per month in my old job but now I earn more than K12,000 per month.”We conclude that the average monthly income of the respondents was about K5500 (approximately US$100).

The work enabled miners to obtain necessities for their children, including education. Now 68% said they could afford their children’s education. As a mother of five indicated:“It has gotten better in a sense. I am able to buy shoes, uniforms, books and other school requirements.” And it isn’t limited to family: “There are five school children I sponsor through my work here at Black Mountain. I also support the education of my nephews and cousins.” Only 5.9% said there was no improvement in their children’s quality of education: one with children born in 2006, 2008, and 2010 said he could not afford to educate his children: “I currently have children who haven’t yet started going to school.” The question was not answered by 23% of those asked.

For those who receive some benefits from the informal mining, the African values of caring for one’s relatives, including extended family, are still strong. Most said they were able to financially assist members of their extended families, with 62% saying they regularly supported other family members from their earnings. One respondentof a smaller family was asked whether she was able to help other family members, and said: “Yes, I have helped a lot of family members. The problem is that most of them generally think we make a lot of money as informal miners and so they always come for financial help. I spend about K7000 as remittance to family members in a year.” Only about 20% said they were unable to assist other family members from their income, but could only provide for their nuclear families. “With the previous work I was able to support my extended family but not now because the income is not enough.”

In the wake of declining job opportunities, many people in Zambia’s urban areas have learnt to engage in small-scale and informal businesses like small shops outside their homes, commonly referred to as “tuntemba”. It is common for people working in the informal mining sector to open small businesses to keep their standards of living at a certain level. This is because without fixed income, at times they earn little or nothing. The research results show that 47% of the respondents have managed to open up businesses for extra income.Informal mining in Wusakili has a ripple effect: one miner’s earnings have enabled his wife to go into business selling clothes, with orders from Lusaka. But 35% have not managed to open businesses, for various reasons.

The social challenges revealed from the study were mainly threats to the workers, including scarcity of working equipment (26%) and poor sanitation: “Lack of machinery and safe working conditions are the major challenges,” said one 37-year-old male. Only 8% blamed lack of proper equipment for efficient excavation of copper ore for their low income. The health risk from poor sanitation was seen as the greatest threat by some: “Health risk; there’s too much dust and we do not have protective clothing and equipment. There’s also a poor payment system because payment for workers is not prioritized.”

Most of the respondents claimed that these challenges have somehow affected their family life: “Income for the family is very low and therefore unable to sustain the family.” And 3% said they get sick due to the working environment. A mother of a miner said: “I think a lot of the miners do not have appropriate mining clothes. As a result, most of them have flu and coughs on a regular basis. … As a family we are given an extra task of nursing the miner regularly.”

With regard to how they have managed these challenges, 9% said they managed by forming cooperatives, 3% said they involved the government, 19.1% said they handle their challenges the best way they can. A father of a miner said: “We buy milk and fruits for the miner as it is believed that milk can prevent the flu.”

A threat to health, risk of injury and danger of loss of life are felt by 21%. A father of six stated: “The threat is that the conditions at that site are not appropriate for mining and can easily lead to the death of workers.” But 38% said they see no threats to family life; 35% did not respond to the question. Several saw the work as a mixed blessing, a threat to family life, with too much time spent on the mountain and when they have money going to social clubs and beer halls. Also: “Our husbands leave us and go after other women. They begin to run two or more homes.”

Alcohol abuse is a major challenge and has been reported to have grown much worse in the miners’ neighbourhoods since the onset of informal mining. Answers showed that substance abuse is common in the area, with about 74% having experienced cases of alcohol and drug abuse. One woman said: “Alcohol abuse is a major problem in this area and can be attributed to sudden rise in incomes among the young people working at The Black Mountain.” But a small number said that the levels of alcohol and drug abuse have been steadily declining since the jobs kept young people busy: “Yes, but I think the cases have reduced ever since The Black Mountain was given to the community. A lot of the youths now have something to do.”

With regard to vulnerability 53% said that youths are the most vulnerable to substance abuse while 12% said it affected people of all ages.A focus group discussion placed the youth among the most vulnerable and affected. One participant observed that “by and large it is the younger people who get involved in substance abuse and the situation is worrisome and needs something to be done urgently.” Clearly, the problem of substance abuse is considerable, especially among the youths.“Alcohol and cigarette (drug) abuse is rampant among youths in our community.” Others added that prostitution is on the rise.

Cases of Social Violence in the Area
The survey indicated that social violence is common, though on the decline. Only 14% said they had never experienced social violence. A lady in a focus group discussion answered: “Yes there is a lot of violence, however, the violence is slowly reducing as most of the youths are now working at the mining site.” Some attribute the social violence to the alcohol abuse common among youths: “Yes. There is social violence in the community because of alcohol abuse and this has been exacerbated by the rising incomes among the young people employed at The Black Mountain.” The focus group thought that social violence was probably the greatest challenge informal mining has brought to the area. One man stated: “The Black Mountain youth are not liked by the community because of their violence, especially against younger ladies in the community. The Black Mountain outfit has caused very serious pain in the form of social violence with impunity.”

Existing advocacy activities
In Kitwe and the Copperbelt in general there is not much intervention by civil society, NGOs, or other organisations to address the problems presented by TBM and informal mining in general. One of the biggest gaps in NGO advocacy in Zambia is the absence of grassroots, community-based organisations to address social ills. It was said that families, especially women, go to church to seek help and solutions to these challenges, mostly marital and family problems. Some women are said to resort to “charms” for solutions. Currently, nongovernmental organizations find TBM too sensitive to address. A leader at the site stated that “previously NGOs like Caritas and DEGA would speak and sensitize on mining safety and they addressed both government and the workers here, but they do not do that any more.” A couple of women in a focus group mentioned the lack of a supportive civil society as a major concern: “We feel very left out. We, the community, are always fighting for everything we need and receive no help and support from fellow workers. It would really help us to have NGOs standing up for us.”

Opportunities for informal and illegal miners at TBM to become a key sector for sustainable development exist and more can be created, especially by the governmentat the local level. In order to address a number of challenges raised in this report, we make the following recommendations.

To government
* Bearing in mind the content and mix of TBM slag, the most efficient way to make use of it for the benefit of the local population and the entire country is not through informal mining. It is therefore recommended that informal and illegal mining at TBM be formalized. It would work best to find a strategic partner(s) to own TBM and invest in a processing plant to separate out the various metals contained in the slag in a more efficient way. In this way, the country and the community would get the best out of TBM by a more complete and efficient recovery of both ordinary metals and precious metals. Currently most of the precious metal is wasted, not accessible by the primitive ways of digging and selecting which only goes for the matte which contains copper to levels of 55%. Also, the full value of the slag should be recovered with better marketing, bringing better jobs and more tax revenue.
* A formalized approach to mining at TBM would improve the quality of jobs and therefore have a better impact on families and social life. It would also reduce the environmental impact through strategies and monitoring processes.
* Therefore, it is highly recommended that a better ownership scheme and structure that pairs a specialized investor and the community be set up. The newly proposed and court-directed way of a private investor(s) ownership along with a parastatal company like ZCCM-IH is another better model. It is recommended that government shareholding be increased from the current level of around 10% to between 45% and 50%.
* In the case where informal mining is allowed to go on, government policies and actions should be designed to both promote and properly regulate small-scale mining as a sector. Currently the legal strictures on informal mining are very weak.
* Government should enact appropriate, supportive, and attractive laws affirming the development of partnerships and cooperatives of small-scale miners that should also be technically and financially supported.
* Government needs to provide or strengthen institutions that allow for formally articulating, advocating, and promoting the interests and wellbeing of informal miners like those at TBM.
* Government should promote small-scale mining by simplifying licensing procedures. The interests of small and large-scale miners should be respected. Serious consideration should be given to allowing local governments to establish policies and regulations.

To civil society
* The current dearth of civil society advocacy around issues like this demands attention. Civil society can mobilize public opinion to resolve the question of ownership of TBM, to harmonize the interests on the scene or to reconcile the interests of miners with those of the government.
* Relevant civil society groups could give direct support to families in the Wusakili area.
* Civil society should also find ways of integrating informal miners or informal mining into the community. This report points out the dilemma that the very source of social unrest is also a source of economic empowerment.
* Continuous education, sensitization, and technical advice on occupational health and safety for informal miners by relevant NGOs and other bodies are of greatest need in the area.

In conclusion,small-scale mining at TBM can contribute significantly to the economic and social well being of many people and households in Kitwe’s Wusakili Township who lack essential services from responsible public agencies. While the present situation is deplorable, the solution does not lie in making life more difficult for these informal miners.
The main threats to Black Mountain miners (and to the informal mining sector in Zambia in general) come from the combination of what is currently perceived as government repression, expropriations by large-scale mining companies, and uncontrolled immigration to the area. The issue of ownership of TBM may need to be considered as well. Government policies and actions should be designed to both promote and properly regulate TBM mining, since it can contribute greatly to social and economic development of the stakeholders. Therefore further research on how this could best be done should be undertaken. Also, Black Mountain miners need more information, awareness, and education on the technical, economic, and environmental aspects of their activities.More in-depth studies should be undertaken to elucidate relevant issues.

* Yin, R. K. Case study research: Design and methods (3rd Ed.). California: Thousand Oaks, (2003).
* Murillo, Maria. Characterization of informal Methodology for the mining. Barcelona: ESADE, (2007).
* Lusaka voice. Who owns The Black Mountain in Kitwe? (2015).http://lusakavoice.com/2015/03/25/court-grants-youth-access-to-kitwes-black-mountain

Getrude Chimange

Using gold mining as a point of reference, Faitrade points out that some 90% of the labor force involved in gold mining is made up of artisanal and small-scale miners. Sixteen million men, women, and children work in harsh conditions, doing backbreaking work to scrape a living.

This report presents the findings from the study of the impact of informal mining on family life in Penhalonga and Marangewhere alluvial gold and diamond mining activities are taking place. Results from these mining communities will be useful for the development of effective advocacy strategies aimed at improving the living and working conditions of the informal miners and their families. The research team conducted 60 interviews comprising 24 individual informal mining workers, 15 family members, 12 CSOs, and 9 churches from Penhalonga and Marange.

The research confirmed that poverty and unemployment are major driving forces for those venturing into the informal mining sector. Some join the sector after being retrenched, as from formal mining. While the sector brings good financial returns, it is unpredictable and risky, including arrests by the police (since it is illegal), violent clashes amongst the miners, and a harsh working environment. One threat not present in other sectors is the likelihood of children dropping out of school to join the informal mining sector.

Presently CSO and religious organization involvement takes the form of workshops on human rights, advocacy, and empowerment of women in the informal mining sector. Government has yet to legalize informal mining, provide start-up capital, train in safe mining practices, or monitor artisanal mining activities.

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace Mutare would like to thank the research assistants who diligently undertook this study, the CCJP Mutare Diocese Program Management for logistical support, the AFCAST lead research team for guidance, and the interview respondents from Penhalonga and Marange informal mining communities whose valuable inputs informed the bulk of the report.

Research methodology
Penhalonga is peri-urban, about 16 kilometers from Mutare, in Mutasa District of Manicaland Province. Marange, a rural community under Chief Marange, is in Chiadzwa, a ward in Mutare District of Manicaland Province, about 85 kilometers from Mutare. The research team managed to conduct 60 interviews using the guidelines provided by the lead researcher. The interviews involved 24 minersfrom the two informal mining communities, 15 family members of miners, 12 respondents from NGOs and CSOs working there, and 9 representatives of churches working there.

Data collection and objectives
Besides face-to-face interviews, the research relied on secondary data – previous knowledge that has already been gathered in the area of informal mining – and on observation by the research assistants. The research aimed at providing descriptions of the lives of informal mining workers and their families, and was directed toward the following objectives:
* to examine the existing types of informal mining,
* to study the motivating factors to working in the informal mining sector,
* to study the family benefits of working in this sector,
* to examine the social challenges faced by families working in the sector,
* to identify the visible threats to family life,
* to identify existing advocacy activities against poor working conditions in the sector.

Attention was paid not only to consensus but to all input from respondents.

The situation in Penhalonga and Marange
Informal mining falls in the category of unlawful, unauthorized, and unconventional mining of minerals like gold in Penhalonga and alluvial diamonds in Chiadzwa. It is characterised by the use of rudimentary technology and less sophisticated equipment. According to Hentschel (2002), defining features of informal mining include minimal machinery, labour-intensive, without legal claims (concession), and with limited safety precautions. By-products of informal mining are usually sold on the black market, for example, to Indian dealers and diamond syndicates in Mutare, 16 kilometers from Penhalonga and 85 kilometers from Marange. This form of mining is also regarded informal because it does not contribute to the national income or minerals coffers, either through tax or mineral stock.It is not easy to quantify the amount of gold, diamonds, or revenue generated by informal mining. Hentschel also notes that informal miners seldom respect environmental or green laws.

Subsistence gold mining in Penhalonga started soon after British occupation, around 1895. The word “penhalonga” is Portuguese, derived from penha meaning “rocky mountain” and longa meaning long. In September 2014 The Standard, a local independent newspaper, reported that over 400 people were involved in illegal gold mining in Penhalonga.

Informal diamond mining drew attention in June 2006, leading to an influx of prospectors in Chiadzwa. According to the Human Rights Watch 2006 report, Chiadzwa diamonds in Marange are thought to extend over 26 square kilometers, in two administrative wards of Mutare District containing 20,000 rural inhabitants. The report adds that earlier diamonds were being mined at River Ranch (in Beitbridge) and Murowa diamond mines (40 kilometers from Zvishavane). It is estimated that by 2008 over 35,000 people were involved in the illegal mining and trade of diamonds in Chiadzwa. Previous research into informal diamond mining by Human Rights Watch identified a number of exit points for diamond that include neighbouring countries such as Mozambique and South Africa, along with Harare International Airport. Major destinations included United Arab Emirates, India, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Europe.

Informal mining is a male-dominated activity owing to its strong association with risk, as observed by Katsaura. However women are also involved in the panning and selling process of gold and diamonds in Penhalonga and Marange.5 Male miners are known as Gwejaand their female counterparts Gwejeleen. Children are called Gwejana (diminutive for Gweja) whilst elderly miners are called Gwejembere (elderly miner). A recent report by the online independent newspaper NewZimbabwe indicated that the number of women and children involved in illegal gold panning has been on the increase over the past 5 years, as reported from Penhalonga.6 It further states that an estimated 153,000+ women and children in Zimbabwe are involved in artisanal mining, according to the Presidentof the Zimbabwe Artisanal and Small-Scale for Sustainable Mining Council.

A diverse representation of people is involved in the extraction of minerals. While in Penhalonga the majority are residents, some are from Hwange, about 829 kilometers from Mutare. Diamond mining by illegal panners has attracted both the local residents of theMarange area and those from neighbouring communities like Chimanimani, Chipinge, Mutare, Mutasa, and Nyanga in Manicaland Province, and as far as Shurugwi in Midlands province, Bulawayo, and Hwange in Matabeleland, as well as Harare.

Motivating factors
The research sought to understand the motivating factors for people working at informal mining in Penhalonga and Marange. The majority mentioned poverty and unemployment, subsistence income, shelter, or money for the children’s schooling, spurred by the failing Zimbabwean economy. Both Penhalonga and Marange lack viable alternatives, since local mining companies do not hire locally. Some (3 out of 12) from Penhalonga mentioned peer pressure: since the area is a mining settlement one feels pushed into mining to gain acceptance, “the need to fit into society.Tsvingwe (a residential suburb in Penhalonga area) is a highly mining community so if you start living in Tsvingwe you just end up mining. We also wanted to take better care of our family and improve our general welfare”(IMW-P-04).

Marange brought similar responses: encouragement from successful peers and short-term gains. The number of years that miners have worked vary between the two communities, since the height of the discovery of diamonds in Marange was 2007 and 8 years was the longest a miner had worked there. One 65-year-old male from Penhalonga had been mining for 38 years. Others began after retrenchment by Redwing, the local mining company. One formerly jobless male from Penhalonga, 23 years of age, mentioned that one easily acquires the skill by observation, and the things that one needs are easily accessible.

A CSO in Marangeobserved: “Poverty is the main driving factor for people to engage in informal mining. Due to loss of livelihoods such as land and livestock people are forced to venture into informal mining. Further, due to unemployment people are left with nothing to do except panning for diamonds. People are also inspired by other informal miners who are earning a lot from this activity. Further, the security guards and soldiers invite the locals into panning diamonds”(CSO-M-05). Six of twenty-four felt it offered an opportunity to better their lives and social standing. The general perception among locals is that informal mining is very lucrative, that is highly rewarding financially.

Most of the people in informal mining in Marange are the unemployed.The percentage of men overrides that of women. Their lack of skills or certificates is an obstacle to their employment in the formal sector, with some from very poor families. A breakdown would show: the largest group is unemployed, uneducated locals; then those laid off by Redwing, Mbada diamonds (about 450 workers in December 2013), Anjin (200), and Ginani (60); elites (army, business people, and university graduates who are failing to secure employment); children, especially drop outs;and teachers who work on a part-time basis.

The research noted varying levels of satisfaction atPenhalonga and Marange, when compared to their previous jobs. The majority found mining more lucrative.One respondent from Penhalonga shared how as a shopkeeper for over 2 years he was failing to make ends meet, so he ventured into informal gold mining. He reckons that whilst the work is both life and health threatening, the rewards are worth the risk: “One only needs to put in more effort to earn much; in a way I get to decide how much I get, I am my own boss” (IMW-P-07). Another from Penhalonga called the mining financially rewarding compared to previous work but highly uncertain and not stable: “We do not know what tomorrow holds for us as a family. We used to get around $600-00 per month but in mining we earn from $700-00 to $1500 per month”(IMW-P-10). He found mining much better because you can determine your own income. A nursehad earned at least $200-00 per month while mining earns her around $800-00, depending on grams of gold harvested (IMW-P-06). A 65-year-old male from Penhalongasaid mining is better because he earns around $400-00 per month, a significant increase over the $250-00 per month from his previous job (IMW-P-03).

However, some are not satisfied with the rewards from their mining efforts. Income is highly unpredictable and, for 8 of 24, less than their previous job. A family member responded that his brother’s previous income was more definite and greater (from $340-00 per month to $200-00 for mining) and the risk made him fear for his brother’s life and health(FMP-01).

Family benefits
The research noted varying levels of socio-economic progress amongst the informal mining families of Penhalonga and Marange.

They agreed that diamond mining is more lucrative than gold mining. Diamond miners made from US$200.00 to US$3000.00 in a month while gold miners made US80.00 to US$800.00. But even the gold miners reported that their socio-economic status is improving as evidenced by improved dietary intake in terms of quality and quantity, ability to pay for school fees, buying household furniture such as sofas, televisions, and radios, and improving housing conditions. Some spoke of extending their houses and acquisition and development of residential stands. A 36-year-old female gold miner from Penhalonga said with improved earnings they sent their children to a boarding school offering better educational standards. About 30% mentioned that they are remitting money to their parents and also assisting extended family members to pay school fees and meet other needs(FMP-02).In Penhalonga, a 73-year-old family member with 4 children reported that they have been able to assist their nieces and nephews with school fees. They also give food handouts to the rest of the extended family and small loans to family members (FMP-03). In Marange, miners and their family members spoke of improvements in living conditions as evidenced by acquisition of stylish clothing, vehicles, household property, and livestock. Small businesses that have been created by some include backyard broiler chicken rearing and marketing, and crop farming.

A 34-year-old father of three from Penhalongamentioned a marked improvement in payment of tuition and rent and improved diet and general social betterment. They can now have two full meals a day rather than the one they had before the mining. “My children are performing fairly well because they are no longer shy to go to school. I bought them new uniforms and this boosted their confidence. My children are now performing well at school because l can now buy books for them to read” (IMW-P-03).A family member from the alluvial gold mining area listed visible signs of socioeconomic progress: “My brother is not earning much but sometimes he is lucky. He has managed to take his first-born child to school, he is managing to buy food for his family and sometimes assist me in my projects. He is building a 3-roomed house now which is at foundation level” (FMP-05).

A respondent working for a local CSO in Penhalonga mentioned that there is a general level of socio-economic progress amongst the informal gold miners, although it is difficult to tell the extent since the miners are very consumption-oriented and spend quite a lot of their fortune on drugs. He further noted that the quality of education for the children is poor. There is a high rate of defaulters in the payment of school fees at the local secondary
school. School performance is high at primary school level with a 96% pass rate in the public examinations for grade 7, but in secondary school only 23 out of 120 passed their public examinations
at Ordinary level. The low performance is associated with gold panning, as some students are reported to be missing classes to help with the work (CSOP-07).

A teacher resigned in 2008 to capitalize on the boom in diamond mining in Chiadzwa. He opened a shop in the Zengeni business centreat the entrance toMbada Diamonds. Within a few months he was able to acquire a lorry to deliver goods such as beer and groceries for his enterprise. The butchery boosted sales: he bought cattle from surrounding areas. Soldiers and police bought meat from the butchery, a hive of activity. Daily sales could reach US$800(FMM-03).Also from Chiadzwa: “On the positive side miners buy livestock which will benefit the family. But on the bad side some panners are killed, beaten, and families carry the burden. Last year a Gweja was shot by security guards for Ginani mine in Buwa village, and also a security guard with DMC shot a Gweja and dumped him in the dam”(CSOM03).

CSOs and religious organisations working in the two informal mining communities calledthe economic rewards not very significant, as most miners live from hand to mouth. But the gold and diamond miners differ. In Marange those who have made a fortune are buying food, household items, clothing, livestock, and cars. In Penhalongathe financial gains are minimal and erratic since informal gold mining is illegal. There is little evidence of socio-economic progress and some of the miners are failing to pay their rent and school fees. According to the CSOs and religious organisations, remittances are very low if any since the money is not easy to get. Their assessment of the level of entrepreneurship is that informal mining has led to the growth of small businesses like flea markets, food outlets, beer outlets, small grocery stores, hair salons, and butcheries. The small businesses are being set up by both the local people and some of the miners. A 40-year-old male from Chiadzwa had this to say concerning the level of entrepreneurship in his area: “Business in Marange is going down. There is a reduction in the amount of alluvial diamonds in Chiadzwa. This is also worsened by the tight security in Chiadzwa. Thus informal miners have a small cake. However, from the little that is there the informal miners are still there. This is also an opportunity for other people to venture into small business such as cooking food, selling clothes, prostitution, internet café, beer halls. This is also increasing the rate of stealing. We cannot refer to prostitutes and thieves as entrepreneurs but people earning a living from that”(FMM-04).

Miners saw threats to family life as a frequent occurrence in the informal mining sector, with 60% (14 out of 24) having experienced them in their own families. Family members as well confirmed that there are many risks and threats associated with informal mining, including occupational hazards like exposure to dusts, toxic substances, injuries that are sustained due to lack of mining experience and protective clothing, deaths, HIV/AIDS, STIs, and TB. Miners are immediately affected but children and wives bear the burden of care or loss of loved ones. One 73-year-old woman from Penhalonga reported that she lost 5 children to TB and unknown chronic illness associated with the mining.

Cases of domestic violence were also reported on the increase amongst informal mining families due to high levels of substance abuse, promiscuity, and misuse of money. All the 60 respondents spoke of drug abuse and its related problems like promiscuity, marital problems, and violence. Respondents spoke of 4 or 5 cases of violence within the mining communities of Penhalonga and Marange. A 39-year-old church pastor from Marangesaid:
“Marriages are breaking up, this affects children. The young people are dropping out of school to join the informal mining sector and cases of early marriages are becoming common amongst the informal mining families” (ChP03).

In both mining communities there is an increase of cheap, illicit beers smuggled into the country from Mozambique. Some like Zed and Lawidzani are illegal in Zimbabwe because their alcohol content (43%) is beyond the locally accepted level. Research confirmed that excessive drinking of such beers has caused deaths. Also wives of drug abusers are vulnerable to physical and emotional abuse, young women are vulnerable to sexual abuse, and drug abusers are vulnerable to the effects of excessive drinking including death. The miners may fight when they get drunk, in some cases with the loss of lives. Sometimes the fights spill into the miner’s families as the feuding
parties seek retribution against other family members. There are no official statistics on the deaths since no reports are made to the police. Beer outlets remaining open till late at night contributes to the problem. Besides the disturbance of family peace, when fighters are arrested their families must pay fines to have them freed. According to a family member from Marange, “youth are always at loggerheads with parents. They have lost respect for elders, there are many cases of family breakdowns, and juvenile delinquency is also on the rise. A case was reported that one boy had beat up his father.”

Other social ills that are being experienced include widespread prostitution leading to marital disputes, domestic violence, and women fighting over men. Families must pay hospital expenses when a family member is injured. School children, girls in particular, are said to be getting into early marriages and prostitution, due to the breakdown of the social fabric and cultural restraint in these communities.

Further problems include increasing use of vulgar language, which can lead to immoral behavior among children, and other social problems. And tribal feuds over mining territories are rife especially in Marange where people have come in from diverse regions: Chiadzwa, Chimanimani, Shurugwi, Hwange, and Harare. Also some violent attacks happen in the presence of family members and children, and killings are in full view of the family, young and old. Another problem in Marange is the intrusion into peoples’ areas of residence and farming to mine for diamonds.

It becomes clear that some dangers are common to Penhalonga and Marange while some are specific to each area. Common risks to health and lives comes from the lack of protective gear, from poorly lit environments, and from exposure to toxic dusts in open-cast mining. In illegal gold panning the use of mercury is on the increase, with adverse health effects to miners and totheir children. According to a news article in New Zimbabwe, nursing mothers are at risk of contaminating their breast milk from exposure to mercury, since most who mine take their children with them to the mining places. The Centre for Natural Resource Governance also reported that solid and liquid waste from illegal gold mining is appearing in the water sources in the Penhalonga area.

Given that mining is an illegal activity, the miners are always at risk of being arrested and sentenced for about 3 months, or brutally assaulted or even killed by the police and security agents. Cases of people dying after being shot by security agents were reported, and of others drowned in pools while fleeing from the police. Deaths also occur from falling into deep shafts and from feuds over gold or diamonds, with families losing their breadwinners.
On 2 February 2013, the Voice of America reported that four illegal gold panners died and another was seriously injured when a 17-metre-deep mine shaft collapsed in Tsvingwe, Penhalonga. Loss of income through the arrest or death of a breadwinner leads to other family problems like theft and prostitution to meet basic needs. In Marange the risk of being arrested is much greater due to the presence of various security arrangements, including private security guards from the mining companies such as Mbada Diamonds, Anjin, and DMC, Zimbabwe Republic Police, and the national army. Informal diamond miners sometimes work in syndicates and bribe security agents to get access to the mining areas. Those arrested often lack money to afford legal representation.

In terms of overcoming the challenges, the few positive responses include income-generating activities like selling food or washing clothes. On the negative side there’s prostitution and stealing. Some bribe security officers, conniving with them to enter the protected areas and avoid arrest. Some in Penhalonga have resorted to working for those who have mining claims to avoid the insecurities of informal mining. The downside is that 50% of what they produce goes to the claim owner. Some miners spoke of seeking alternative forms of earning a living because of the dangers and insecurity of informal mining.

Existing advocacy activities
It was noted that there is a growing recognition of the existence of informal mining and the problems associated with it, with interventions targeting miners and their families. Most of the initiatives are at their formative stages and there is yet little evidence of their effectiveness to address the challenges.

Umoja is an Anglican church initiative in the areas of women and child abuse. They document human rights abuses, raise awareness, and advocate for policy change (for instance the Mines and Minerals Act). They have increased public awareness of health-related issues and alerted public interest groups that can offer free legal services.

Women in Peace and Security (CSOP02)
The organization was established in 2014 to encourage women to participate in peace-building activities and community development. So far it has carried out awareness and peace education workshops for women in Penhalonga.

Zimbabwe Diamonds and Allied Workers Union
ZDAWU was formed in August 2012 to respond to human rights abuses against workers in the Chiadzwa diamond industry. It focuses on health and safety, environment management, human rights, and corporate governance, and has a following of 140,000 registered mining workers in Zimbabwe. It is involved in petitions, documentation of human rights violations, training and development of community-based organisations, awareness-raising workshops, education of informal miners, and advocacy with the government to formalize the mining, create employment, and improve the Mines and Minerals Act.

Marange Development Trust
MDT is spearheading community development in Marange against a background of many livelihoods disrupted by the establishment of private mining companies in the area. MDT is joining other NGOs and groups to press the government to give communities places to mine, and to formalise informal mining activities as well as open up opportunities to supply goods and services to the established mining companies. The organisation is also documenting cases of human rights abuses and monitoring pollution caused by the private mining companies in Marange. Their advocacy efforts are yet to bear fruit but they are determined to have their voices heard.

Women in Mining Penhalonga
WMP is assisting women in Penhalonga to improve their livelihoods through capacity-building workshops and increased access to bank loans, in order to diversify their livelihood options. We hear: “Getting loans from the bank is difficult, we don’t have adequate mining tools.” Most of the target beneficiaries are still processing loan applications, and so the initiative is yet to bear fruit.

Tsvingwe Residents Association
So far their one intervention has been an appeal to the local council to provide social services like health, water, roads, and housing for the local community. The organization has participated in several capacity-building workshops on development planning, gender equality, understanding the national constitution, human rights, human trafficking, and advocacy.

Transparency International Zimbabwe
TIZ is focusing on advocacy training and educational opportunities for informal miners, on engaging government to influence policy change, and on providing human rights lawyers for court cases. TIZ also strengthens the capacity of community-based organizations through formation of cooperatives, amongst other things. The informal mining communities have not yet realized the benefits of this effort since advocacy is more of a process than an event.

All nine churches said they do not have any interventions to mitigate the impact of informal mining or improve the working conditions. However, they confirmed that CSOs are conducting a number of workshops targeting the informal mining workers and their families and they were aware of ongoing advocacy efforts to legalize informal mining. They see their role as encouraging good behaviour, teaching youth to abstain from premarital sex, and counseling. Some young couples are following the faith and there is some level of transformation amongst the informal mining families. Others emphasized the need of claims to legalize operations, as hazards arise from it being an informal activity that is carried out at times under cover at night.

Legal framework
Zimbabwe has many laws on mining, both formal and informal, coupled with its related effects on the environment. These include the Base Minerals Export Control Act, Precious Stones Trade Act, Gold Trade and Copper Act, Mines and Minerals Act, and many others. There are also many legal and policy requirements for legal mining activity. But, sad to say, informal miners are lost in the maze of these laws and policies, making them vulnerable
to abuse by mining companies, police, and one another.

Mines and Minerals Act (chapter 21:05)
It recognises artisanal, small-scale, and large-scale mining operations. It focuses mainly on mineral production and the processes of getting various licences, permits, leases, and exclusive prospecting orders. It also deals with the preservation of mining rights, the regulation of the work of alluvial and certain other deposits, controlling of sifting works on mining locations, payments to local authorities, and conditions governing rights on reserved ground and special grants. But this Act does not strike a balance between mineral production and environmental protection. It also does not promote environmental, economic, and social impact assessment of mining activities. It overlooks the important role of informal miners in boosting the economy if their enterprise is carefully harnessed.

Gold Act (chapter 21:03)
It prohibits the possession of gold by persons without licences. There are three types of licences that are provided for under section 13, a gold-dealing licence, a gold-recovery-works licence, and a gold-assaying licence. Section 14 provides for the use of these licences.

Environmental Management Act (chapter 20:27)
This Act is informed by the National Environmental Policy and the National Environmental Impact Assessment Policy. It coordinates all environmentally-related activities including mining and provides for EIAs to be done using National Guidelines. It calls for an environmental fund for use in reclaiming degraded and polluted areas. However, while the Act promotes community participation in environmental governance, it does not define the communities in terms of men, women, boys, and girls, and does not offer any incentives for environmental protection. Although it promotes access and benefit-sharing schemes such as Community Ownership Share Trusts, it does not specify how equitable benefit sharing could be achieved.

Statutory Instrument 275 (1991, Regulations on alluvial gold panning in public streams)
According to this regulation, rural district councils (RDCs) can issue licenses to riverbed gold panners independently of the Ministry of Mines. The question is whether informal gold panners and RDCs are aware of this regulation. According to Statutory Instrument 275, permits could be given directly to individuals and or cooperatives, as long as panners were residents of the district and at least 18 years of age. Panners had to agree to work at a distance from the lowest point of the naturally defined banks of a river stream and avoid disturbing the bank, and no mining was allowed closer than 3 meters from either bank. Statutory Instrument 275 also stipulated that trenches and pits dug near the rivers had to be backfilled and it prohibited the use of mechanized equipment, while stipulating that it ‘‘does not permit any working to have a vertical depth of more than 1.5 metres unless such working is terraced or sloped at an angle sufficient to ensure the safety of persons, or is adequately supported’’ (1424). The important question to reflect on as advocates is who has more licence issuing powers, the RDC or the Ministry of Mines?


Recommendations to government of Zimbabwe

* There is strong need for the government to register informal miners to make their operations more formal and legal. This can be complemented by the passing of standards they must adhere to. With registration, government can award claims for land where formal miners have previously extracted.
* Out of respect for church teaching on respect for human life and human dignity, the government should terminate violent operations like hakudzokwi and chikorokozachapera (Operation No Return and Operation for the End of Informal Mining). Government should engage in more peaceful operations, divorced from the harassment of informal miners, to save lives and conform to international standards of human rights.

Recommendations to civil societies and the church
* Civil society groups coupled with the church play a funda-mental role in complementing government efforts, civic education of informal miners, and information dissemination. In this regard, there is need for civil societies and churches to engage in sustainable classical trainings (SCTs) on environmental protection, resource governance, environment-friendly mining methods, and social respon-sibilities for the miners.
* There is strong need for CSOs and the church to lobby regional blocs like SADC to establish a regional fidelity center through which only informal miners can sell their minerals. This would avert their abuse by criminal, black market syndicates. The center would bring order to governance of the mines and minerals.

Recommendations to improve working conditions
* Advocacy efforts are important to publicize the plight of workers and bring an improvement in working conditions. Respondents (80% of IMWs and all CSOs) emphasized the need to lobby government to formally recognize the contribution of the informal mining sector. Changes are needed in the Mines and Minerals Act to enhance access to mining claims. Suggestions included lowering the fees and conditions for acquiring mining claims and other operational issues. This is consistent with the current drive by the government for indigenisation and empowerment. Some remarks on advocacy: “We need government assistance to register claims so we work without fear. The government should intervene by allocating mines to informal miners so as to formalize the informal mining sector. This will halt police raids and harassment of informal miners.… The government should also give financial support to informal miners.” This from an informal gold miner with more than 20 years in the sector. And an article in The Standard newspaper reported Chief Mutasa as saying: “We need the government to offer licenses to locals to do proper mining by giving them claims. This will provide some jobs to the local community and some basic services.”
* Advocacy efforts should also look into securing financial support for mining equipment and protective clothing. Government and other players like NGOs and the private sector should demonstrate their commitment to improve the lives of informal mining communities through capital injection in the form of loans to meet setup and operational costs. “We need capital to improve our mining and buy mining equipment” said a miner from Marange. Similarly, from another: “Financial support is needed for purchasing suitable machinery and protective clothing that reduce health risks.” And, “the government should give us informal miners loans to start other projects for survival and also create employment for youth.”
* Besides formal recognition and financial support, the researchers also heard suggestions on the need to provide appropriate technical training and extension support to ensure that miners acquire skills to operate in safe and sustainable ways, for instance, the use of mercury-free mining. “NGOs and church organizations should intervene if possible – clean-up campaigns, training informal miners on safe mining practices.” “Non-governmental organizations should educate informal miners on safe mining methods that do not harm the environment and threaten the health of miners.” CSOs highlighted the need for addressing issues of pollution and environmental degradation through constant monitoring of informal mining activities by government and other non-state actors.
* Miners suggested there was need to unite and form a union to represent them to government and other stakeholders. “We must assist each other as informal miners by establishing a union that represents us in society and forwards our grievances to relevant authorities.”
* It was also suggested that mining companies operating in Penhalonga and Marangebe encouraged to recruit local people. From a CSO in Marange: “Companies should employ locals thereby reducing unemployment rates. Local community must also benefit.”

Recommendations to improve quality of family life
* Multi-faceted strategies were proposed to improve family life in these communities, including the following: Increase opportunities for families to acquire residential stands and so improve their living conditions, as well as provision of safe and clean water.
* Government and non-state actors should provide training and provision of start-up capital to create alternative sources of income in the two mining communities.
* Government and private mining companies should involve communities in planning and implementation of mining activities, to forestall tensions.
* Churches and religious organizations can offer spiritual support through teachings and workshops to counter negative effects on the family unit: domestic violence, loss of human life, decaying moral values, immorality, early marriages, substance abuse, and prostitution. They should also train family members on how to improve their family life.
* Mining companies should be lobbied to set up tangible benefits to communities where they are operating.
* Police should use better strategies of enforcing the law apart from chasing and threatening to shoot illegal miners, since many are injured on the run.

As this book goes to press, there have been further developments at the diamond mines in Marange. In February 2016, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development closed the mines in an initiative to bring all diamond mines under a single authority, Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company. The move is intended to ensure that the revenue from the mines goes into Treasury to benefit the whole country. Three of the partners who had part ownership in the affected mines have taken the government to court over this action and many small-scale miners have been arrested and some have died in collapses at mine shafts since the government takeover. It is not clear whether the consolidation of diamond mines under one umbrella will be helpful or harmful to the nation, the miners and those in the informal mining sector.

Relevance of the Social Teachings
The goal of this research has been to document how informal mining affects the family unit as well as the environment in the light of the Social Teachings of the Catholic Church and the option for the poor. The Church on the African continent takes the preservation of family life very seriously. “The family is the place where the deep African value of life comes to be, is protected and nourished, a place of belonging where sharing and solidarity are at the heart of daily life and where each one feels himself or herself to be truly at home,” stated the Bishops of AMECEA and IMBISA in their message Our Journey Together. As a result of this focus on the family, the African Synod of 1994 made the Church as God’s Family its guiding idea for the evangelization of Africa. Pope John Paul II affirmed this focus in his Apostolic Exhortation after the Synod, Ecclesia in Africa, in which he declared: “Not only did the Synod speak of inculturation, but it also made use of it…. The Synod Fathers acknowledged it (God’s Family) as an expression of the Church’s nature particularly appropriate for Africa. For this image emphasizes care for others, solidarity, warmth in human relationships acceptance, dialogue and trust.” (No. 63)

The African Synod pointed to some of the threats to family life including economic injustice and called for “right priorities for the exploitation and distribution of often scarce national resources in such a way as to provide for people’s basic needs.” (113) Youth were singled out as particularly impacted by poverty, causing them to flee to places that offer them some means of earning a living. (115) One can only think of all those who have fled to precarious mining sites to eke some income to keep their families going in spite of the risks to health and life involved.

The African Synod of 2009 built on the foundation established at the previous Synod with special attention being given to reconciliation, peace and justice. Pope Benedict XVI in his Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Africae Munus referred to some of the conditions necessary for family life and the continent to flourish. He mentioned respect for creation and the ecosystem as one of these conditions, urging the fair distribution of wealth and the protection of the environment. “Some business men and women, governments and financial group are involved in programmes of exploitation which pollute the environment and cause unprecedented desertification,” he declared. “Serious damage is done to nature, to the forests, to flora and fauna, and countless species risk extinction…. I call upon the Church in Africa to encourage political leaders to protect such fundamental goods as land and water for the human life of present and future generations and for peace between peoples.” (80)

One need only look at the environmental destruction that is taking place at the mining sites that have been studied to recognize the need to take urgent action to protect and restore these areas for future generations.
Two more recent examples stand out in relation to this study. “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization” was the theme of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops convoked by Pope Francis on 8 October 2013. The Instrumentum Laboris, or preparatory document for this Synod, pointed to some of the problems that confront the family today. Among these were violence and abuse, unemployment, human trafficking and migration. Speaking of poverty and the struggle for subsistence, the document states: “The responses and observations widely and insistently refer to the economic hardships endured by families as well as the lack of material resources, poverty and the struggle for subsistence…. Some observations call for the Church to raise a strong prophetic voice concerning poverty which puts a strain on family life.” (73) Surely the poverty observed in the informal mining sector calls out for such intervention! In his closing remarks at this Synod on family Pope Francis reiterated that the Synod “was about trying to view and interpret realities, today’s realities, through God’s eyes, so as to kindle the flame of faith and enlighten people’s hearts in times marked by discouragement, social, economic and moral crisis, and growing pessimism.” Hence, it is vital that the challenges faced by families be highlighted and that the Church, government and public take measures to address these challenges.

Finally, the prophetic call of Pope Francis in Laudato Si to care for our common home, the planet Earth on which we live, calls for a new model of development and a “global ecological conversion”.
Speaking of pollution and health he says, “Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and causes millions of premature deaths” (20). Certainly the threats to the health of small-scale miners in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe fit this description. The document also stresses the right to work as the best means to combat poverty. “Helping the poor financially must always be a provisional solution in the face of pressing needs. The broader objective should always be to allow them a dignified life through work” (128).

The document stresses the interconnection between care for the Earth and care for the poor. Ecological concerns are also human concerns. In moving terms, the document declares: “Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” (49)

Since Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical On the Condition of Labour (Rerum Novarum) in 1891, which exposed the plight of workers during the Industrial revolution, the Catholic Church has often been in the forefront of exposing injustice and calling for the elimination of poverty. This compendium of Social Teaching influenced the famous document of the Second Vatican Council, The Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) 1965, and continues to grow, shedding the light of the Gospel on current economic, political and social issues. One could also quote numerous statements and documents from the episcopal conferences in East and Southern Africa that would be relevant to the situation of small-scale miners in the region. There is no shortage of material attesting to the need to take action to improve their living and working conditions. It is hoped that this research document may encourage Catholic Professionals and other interested persons and groups to use this information to advocate for more just and environmentally sound mining practices that will foster family life and reduce poverty.

Human Rights Watch (June 2006) Diamonds in the Rough: Human Rights Abuses in the Marange Diamond Fields of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe.
Katsaura, O.   (2010) “Socio-cultural Dynamics of Informal diamond mining in Chiadzwa.” Zimbabwe Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa. Volume 12.
New Zimbabwe, 13 July, 2015, ‘Gold rush poisons children as desperate thousands turn to illegal mining’, Zimbabwe http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news-23695-Desperation+150,000+child+gold+panners
Statutory Instrument 275 (1991, Regulations on Alluvial Gold Panning in Public Streams), Environment Management Agency Report Vol 3, 2010.
The Standard, 14 September, 2014, ‘Renewed hunt for Gold in Penhalonga’,Zimbabwe. http://www.thestandard.co.zw/2014/09/14/renewed-hunt-gold-penhalonga/
The Mines and Minerals Act (Chapter 21: 05), Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe,(https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Zimbabwe_2013.pdf)
The Gold Act (Chapter 21.03), Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe(https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Zimbabwe_2013.pdf)
The Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20.27), www.ema.co.zw

General conclusions
Too little consideration is given to how mining affects the family unit, especially informal mining, which is regarded as an illegal activity in most countries. Hence there is little protection and advocacy provided. Men, women, and children usually engage in small-scale mining as a survival strategy, owing to the lack of jobs and to poverty in their communities. Pursuing the promise of wealth from the mines, families face various dangers including poor health, rivalry amongst miners, ensuing promiscuity and drunkenness. Environmental degradation from mining often leaves the ground bare and unfertile.

The Catholic social teaching principle of option for the poor would raise awareness of the extent to which the positive and negative impact of informal mining have affected family life. We see many children being raised in unfavorable family conditions that subsequently affect their moral aptitude, academic performance, and self-esteem. For the miner, the work is extremely difficult, the health risks high, and the wages generally low. Miners
have a high risk of contracting TB due to exposure to minerals such as silica.Women are left widowed, or often subject to sexual abuse and HIV infection.

These research findings lay the foundation for advocacy through collaboration, including Catholic professionals, for social change on various issues, for improving the lot of the worker for the betterment of family life. Advocacy is also needed to preserve the ecosystem for the benefit of future generations.

Appendix 1: Research instruments

Interview with family and individuals
Name of respondent (optional):
Marriage status:
How many children:

1.1 Motivating factors
1.1.1 How long have you worked in the informal mining sector? {Prompt for number of months or year}
1.1.2 What motivated you to come to work here? {Prompt for individual desires and aspirations – better living condition; more income; unemployment, etc.}
1.1.3 What kind of work were you doing in the past? {Prompt for previous work experience. Indicate if previously unemployed}
1.1.4 Would you say this work is much better than what you used to do? Explain {Prompt for concrete examples explaining whether the work is better or not}

1.2 Family benefits
1.2.1 How has the social-economic conditions of your family improved since you came to work here? How much would you earn per month?
1.2.2 Prompt for visible signs of economic progress – e.g. average income per month; balanced diet; condition of health.
1.2.3 How would you assess the quality of education of your child since you came here? Has it improved or gotten worse? Explain {Prompt for specific examples – the child’s performance before coming to the informal mines; the quality of school infrastructure and teachers}
1.2.4 Have you been able to help other family members with your earnings? Explain {Prompt for average amount remitted}
1.2.5 Have you been able to open up business for extra income while working here? Explain. {Prompt for specific examples}
1.2.6 What other benefits have you had while working here? {Prompt for diverse examples}

1.3 Visible threats to family
1.3.1 What kind of threats to family life have you experienced? {Prompt for threats such as: security, violence, prostitution, early marriages and health risks}
1.3.2 Have you experienced cases of alcoholic + drug abuse in this area? Explain. {Prompt for existing cases of drug/substance abuse – include alcohol as one of the addictive substances}
1.3.3 Who are the most vulnerable to these abuses? {Prompt for examples of persons or category of persons}
1.3.4 How have the cases of substance abuse affected family life? Explain {Prompt for concrete example – e.g. breakage of marriages; delinquent youths; immorality, violence; school drop outs}
1.1.1 Have there been cases of social violence in this area? How has this affected the family life? {Prompt for the average number of violence occurrences per week and impact on family}
1.1.2 Have you had cases of domestic abuse such as wife beating, husband attack, etc.? Explain {Prompt for explanation on why they are happening or not happening}

1.4 Challenges
1.4.1 What specific challenge have you faced in working in informal mining sector? {Prompt for concrete examples – social, economic, religious, political, cultural, health, etc.}
1.4.2 How have these challenges affected your family life?
1.4.3 How have managed to overcome these challenges? Prompt for examples on how some of the challenges have been overcome

1.5 Intervention Mechanisms
1.5.1 What are the existing intervention mechanism against poor conditions at the informal mining sector? {Prompt for examples of different initiatives to improve the condition of life of the individuals and families working or living at the mining sector}
1.5.2 What are the advocacy strategies being applied by the NGOs, Civil society and religious institutions? {Prompt for specific advocacy activities like: documentation of human rights violation; radio programs/workshop/trainings advocating for better life in the informal mining; lobbying the government, etc.}
1.5.3 To what extent would you say that these advocacy strategies have improved the working and living conditions for most families? {Prompt for examples on how the condition of family life has improved after advocacy initiatives}
1.5.4 What new advocacy strategy would you recommend? {Prompt for concrete examples on how the family life and working conditions can be improved through new advocacy strategies}

1.6 Recommendation
1.6.1 What would you recommend to improve the conditions of work at informal mining sector? {Prompt for concrete examples}
1.6.2 What would you recommend to improve the quality of family life in informal mining sector? {Prompt for new creative ways in which the family life could improve}

Interview with CSOS and churches

Name of respondent (optional):
Marriage status:
How many children:

1.1 Motivating factors
1.1.3 What would you consider to be the key motivating factors to people working in the informal mines? {Prompt for concrete examples of motivation}
1.1.4 What would you consider to be social-economic background of the people who come to work in these informal mines? {Prompt for detailsof the categories of people working here – farmers, teachers, school drop outs; educated like university graduates; poor villages from around}

1.1 Family benefits
1.1.1 In your opinion, how would you assess the quality of the economic conditions of the families working the informal sector? {Prompt for visible signs of economic progress – average income per month}
1.1.2 How would you assess the quality of education of the children for most families? {Prompt for assessment of the quality of educational structures, performance of students}
1.1.3 Do families here remit money to their family members elsewhere in the country? {Explain Prompt for knowledge on financial support to family members elsewhere}
1.1.4 What would consider to be the level of entrepreneurship in this area? {Prompt for examples of existing small businesses
1.1.5 Are there any other benefits experienced by the families? {Explain Prompt for benefits not mentioned above – others benefits beyond the immediate visible ones; e.g. increased love and peace in the family.}

1.2 Visible threats to family
1.2.2 What are some of specific threats to family life around here? {Prompt for threats such as: security, violence, prostitution, early marriages, health risks}
1.2.3 Are there cases of alcohol and drug abuse in this area? {Explain Prompt for existing cases of drug/substance abuse – include alcohol as one of the addictive substances}
1.2.4 Who in your opinion would be the most vulnerable to drugs/substance abuse? {Prompt for examples of persons or category of persons}
1.2.5 How has family life been affected by the cases of drug/substance abuse? {Prompt for concrete examples – e.g. breakage of marriages; delinquent youths; immorality, violence; school drop out}
1.2.6 What is your assessment of the levels of violence in this area? {How has this affected the family life? Prompt for the average number of violence occurrences per week and impact on family}

1.3 Challenges in working in Mining area
1.3.2 What would you consider to be the challenges for most people working in the informal mining sector? {Prompt for concrete examples – social, economic, religious, political, cultural, health, etc.}
1.3.3 In your assessment, how have these challenges affected family life? {Prompt for examples such as: misunderstandings within the family/relatives; feeling threatened; desperation; children can no longer go to school; substance abuse, etc.}
1.3.4 How have most families managed to overcome these challenges? {Prompt for concrete examples – innovative ways; migration; forming unions, etc.}

1.4 Intervention Mechanisms
1.4.2 What are the existing intervention mechanism against poor conditions at the informal mining sector? {Prompt for examples of different initiatives to improve the condition of life of the individuals and families working or living at the mining sector}
1.4.3 What are the advocacy strategies being applied by the NGOs, Civil society and religious institutions? {Prompt for specific advocacy activities like: documentation of human rights violation; radio programs/workshops/trainings advocating for better life in the informal mining; lobbying the government, etc.}
1.4.4 To what extent would you say that these advocacy strategies have improved the working and living conditions for most families? {Prompt for examples on how the condition of family life has improved after advocacy initiatives}
1.4.5 What new advocacy strategy would you recommend? {Prompt for concrete examples on how the family life and working conditions can be improved through new advocacy strategies?}

1.5 Recommendations
1.5.2 What would you recommend to improve the conditions of work at informal mining sector? {Prompt for concrete examples}
1.5.3 What would you recommend to improve the quality of family life in informal mining sector? {Prompt for new creative ways in which the family life could improve}