Zimbabwe is situated in southern Africa and encompasses a total area of 390,757km2. More than 15% of the total area is set aside for conservation of forest and wildlife biodiversity. Zimbabwe’s population of 12.3 million people is growing at an annual rate of 2.5%, and is expected to double in about 23 years. Though agriculture continues to be the backbone of the Zimbabwean economy, contributing 15% of Zimbabwe’s GDP and employing 70% of the population, mineral extraction is now a major source of revenue with over 40 extractable minerals, including gold, diamonds, platinum, chrome and granite. Mining operations range from large to artisanal operations.
The country is saddled with inconsistencies in implementation of environmental laws and regulations, a land tenure system that fails to protect communal land rights and an archaic mining law that does little to protect the interests of affected communities. Poor Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) procedures and reports, lack of compliance with environmental conditions and displacement are amongst the challenges facing communities affected by mining.