MASVINGO – Scores of houses in Zimre Park, an upmarket suburb in Masvingo have allegedly been damaged by quarry blasts taking place on the outskirts of the city, a charged meeting of residents heard yesterday.
Zimre Park Residents Association is now demanding compensation from Chifen Engineering and Hardware for houses whose window panes were shattered, buildings walls and pillars that developed cracks and ceilings that collapsed as a result of the mining process.
The residents also want Chifen to immediately stop blasting at the mine until its operations are rectified and considered safe.
The worst blast took place on August 29, 2020 and lawyers representing residents and Chifen have exchanged letters on the issue.
One of the residents who declined to be named said that his child survived death when a ceiling that fell during the blast missed his head by a whisker.
The meeting of stakeholders held at Chifen Quarry mining site along Harare Masvingo Highway yesterday sought to resolve the issue. Residents complained that in addition to the damages, their houses shook heavily each time there is a blast at the quarry which is 3km from the suburb.
The meeting also attended by The Mirror brought together representatives of the association including the chairperson Farai Makunike, officials from the Ministry of Mines, a representative of Ward councillor Against Chiteme, Masvingo City Council officials and officials from the Environmental Management Authority.
Chifen was represented by the mine manager Ephraim Mutemachani, What irked residents is that Chifen management allegedly accepts responsibility for the damages during face to face meetings but refuses the same once the matter is reduced to writing.
Chifen lawyers Mutendi, Mudisi and Shumba Legal Practioners refused responsibility for the damages in a letter written to residents.
However, residents said the same company had already repaired councillor Against Chiteme’s house in the same area that was damaged by the blasts.
The letter from the lawyers said that the damage to the houses could have been caused by vibrations from vehicles using Harare Masvingo Highway, swelling and shrinkage of building material or chemical changes in mortar, bricks and plaster.
Chifen however, said that they were bringing in blasting experts to look into the matter and ensure that their work will be safe.
“We have engaged KB mining company who are experts in blasting and drilling to ensure a safe mining environment.
“We are also doing an assessment on the damages and will only act when the results are out,” said Mutemachani.
Chifen started mining on the site two years ago in 2019. https://masvingomirror.com