BY XOLISANI NCUBE
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has ordered a Chinese company to stop its planned quarry mining activities in Domboshava, following an outcry by over 20 000 villagers who had already been ordered to vacate the area and pave way for mining operations.
Information deputy minister and local MP, Energy Mutodi confirmed the development yesterday, saying Mnangagwa had declared the area a tourism resort, where mining activities were prohibited.
“President Emmerson Mnangagwa has come to the rescue of Domboshava villagers, who were facing eviction by a Chinese quarry mining firm, Aihua Jianye. The President has ordered that the firm stops mining activities in the area known for its rock art and as a tourist attraction,” Mutodi said.
The Chinese company was reportedly planning to evict 20 000 people from their land after it was granted mining rights to extract quarry stones from a hill in the area.
On Saturday, Mutodi met with the affected villagers and they resolved to resist the order and accused an MDC councillor identified as Tapiwa Murima and the district administrator, Prisca Dube of illegally allowing the Chinese firm to mine at Garimo Hill.
Aihua Jianye sought to mine quarry near Mverechena Shopping Centre and this would have seen people who are located within the five-kilometre radius being removed to create space for the project.
This comes as communities in Mutoko in Mashonaland East province and other parts of the country where mining operations take place often cry foul over the manner in which investors treat locals and the environment without compensation.
In Mutoko, where there is heavy mining of black granite, villagers are said to be impoverished with no jobs and their environment ravaged, yet the mining firms pocket huge profits.
According to the Environmental Management Act, before a mining operation commences, it has to get an environmental impact assessment (EIA) certificate which details how nature and its inhabitants would be protected by the firm.
The Domboshava villagers are questioning how the firm got the licence and right to establish the concern without an EIA certificate.