Villagers in Mutoko were left scavenging for water after a local granite mining company, upon closing shop, sealed off boreholes it had drilled in the area.

In his report during a provincial coordinating committee held in Marondera on Sunday, Zanu PF’s Mashonaland East political commissar and Mutoko South legislator Hebert Shumbamhini said the mining company, called Reds or Sidingo, sealed the water sources and refused to renovate the houses of villagers that developed cracks caused by blasting despite having pledged to do so.

“We have a mining company that wound up its operations in Mutoko district. They had sunk boreholes in the area, but when they left, they sealed all the boreholes that were benefiting villagers. We tried to engage them to renovate villagers’ houses that cracked during the time they were operating as a result of blasting as well as repairing bridges, but (it was) in vain. We kindly ask the authorities to assist on these matters,” he said.

Shumbamhini added that the company also removed the water pumping equipment from the boreholes.

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Efforts to get a comment from the mining company were fruitless yesterday.

Despite the abundant natural resource, Mutoko is one of the poorest districts in Zimbabwe, with mining companies extracting granite and exporting it to Europe since 1972.

At least 98% of black granite extracted from Mutoko is exported to Germany, Spain and Italy.

According to the Zimbabwe Mineral Development Corporation, Mutoko produces 75% of Zimbabwe’s black granite.