VILLAGERS surrounding Murowa Diamond Mine in Zvishavane have petitioned President Robert Mugabe to intervene and order the diamond mining company to minimise pollution of the area and support community development projects.
Through their lawyers Mugiya and Macharaga Law Chambers, the villagers said the area surrounding the mine was heavily polluted with excessive dust emissions from mining activities.
Part of the petition document dated August 4, which was copied to Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Jason Machaya, Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa, the Midlands provincial administrator, Chief Mazvihwa and Murowa Mine management, read: “You are now aware that a lot of people have been admitted in hospitals and diagnosed of dust-related ailments including schoolchildren at Baradzanwa Primary School.
“Our clients’ houses or structures have been damaged by the operations at your mine, especially from the mining blasts which are very frequent and inconsiderate.”
The lawyers added: “We have been advised by our client that they have been trying to negotiate with you pertaining to the various problems affecting them, which problems came as a result of the existence and operations at your mine. We are reliably informed that you have given them very little attention, if any at all.”
The villagers also said Murowa Diamond operations in the area had resulted in the siltation of their water sources including a dam and water reservoirs along Runde River. They claimed that when mining activities started four years ago, the firm pledged to electrify the local school and the surrounding villagers’ homes, but nothing had been done to date.
They further complained that the company promised to connect running water points for the villagers, commence irrigation projects and engage local youths as labourers.
“May we have your position stated at least by August 15 this year, failure of which we may have to pursue some other avenues to your detriment,” the lawyers said.
Efforts to get a comment from Murowa Diamond Mine proved fruitless as the company’s spokesperson was said to be out of office.