MOSES MADYIRA/SYDNEY MUBAIWA
MVUMA – Acting Chief Chirumanzu born Fidelis Mudzengi has described Chinese chrome miners in the Midlands Province as looters after they allegedly failed to construct roads and bridges which they promised 15 years ago.
Talking tough in a telephone interview with The Mirror, Chief Chirumanzu said the chrome miners have been lying to villagers for 15 years.
Chief Chirumanzu’s sentiments come at a time when Government has given another Chinese company, Dinson Iron and Steel, a subsidiary of the Tsingshan Group Holdings the green light to establish a US$1 billion mine to extract iron ore in his area. This will see hundreds of families being evicted from their homes.
Efforts to engage the chrome miners resulted in more unfulfilled promises, said Chief Chirumanzu.
He said that the Chinese have done nothing but loot minerals and villagers feel betrayed and used.
Companies like Washrock, Afro-Chine and Bhundey that are mining chrome in Lalapanzi promised to construct Makomborero bridge and rebuild roads like Lalapanzi – Mahama but none of the pledges have been honoured, said Chief Chirumanzu.
“The Chinese made promises to villagers in Lalapanzi 15 years ago but there is nothing. They are just looting without giving back to the people who own the land. The villagers are angry,” said Chirumanzu.
The areas are worse off after severe damages to roads and the environment. Chief Chirumanzu specifically mentioned Mvuma-Kwekwe Road which was allegedly destroyed by the chrome miners who have since switched to another road.
“After severely damaging the Mvuma-Kwekwe Road, they have switched to Lalapanzi Road,” said Chirumanzu.
A spokesperson of one of the Chinese mining companies Dinson Iron and Steel, a subsidiary of the Tsingshan Holdings Johnson Bai said they will make sure that the local communities in which they operate benefit from the natural resources.
“We are going to prioritize infrastructure development so that the locals benefit.
” We are also doing a lot in terms of employment opportunities where locals are given first preference in mining exploration and we believe our mining operations will leave communities developed as it is one of our thrust,” he said.
Chairperson of the Mines and Minerals Development Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Edward Mukaratigwa said there was consensus on the need to review mining laws in the country particularly the principal Act – Mines and Minerals Act so that communities benefit from their natural resources.
“We are going to look into the issue and we will push for mining laws that will enhance and empower the local community to hold investors accountable for their activities,” he said.
Entrode Mujena, a villager said it is disheartening to see the country’s minerals being looted for a song. He said there is evidence that the companies are making profits as they are bringing bigger mining equipment every year
“They are looting our resources without developing our area. They are lying that they don’t have money but they are buying new mining machines and cars for their bosses,” said Mujena.
MOSES MADYIRA/SYDNEY MUBAIWA