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Mutoko black granite miners under siege

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GOVERNMENT has ordered black granite miners operating in Mutoko and its surrounding environs to make cash contributions to the area’s Community Share Ownership Trust (CSOT) under the indigenisation and empowerment programme.

By Jairos Saunyama

Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister Joel Biggie Matiza said granite miners in Mutoko have been benefiting from the extraction of the natural resource for the past four decades, but had done little in terms of ploughing back into the community.

“Since 1976, black granite miners have been destroying mountains, especially in Mutoko. Sacred places are also being driven into extinction yet the locals have nothing to show for it. Farmlands have been destroyed without the knowledge of traditional leaders,” Matiza said last week.

“This is the reason I recently met with the companies exploiting the black granite and gave them an ultimatum to pay something to the CSOTs by end of this month. We also asked them to give us their payment plans.”

Some of the granite miners targeted by government include Natural Stone, CRG, Zimbabwe International Quarries, Quarrying Enterprises and Lilford Red.

In Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe, Rock Link Company that is also mining black granite has been ordered to contribute to the CSOT scheme.
This came after government last month also ordered Imire Game Park to contribute towards the trust’s coffers.

Mutoko is one of the poorest districts in the country and investigations by the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (Zela) showed that companies exporting black granite were raking in fortunes, but were not willing to contribute towards the development of the area.

Zela noted that in 2009 alone, 121 000 tonnes of black granite worth $12,1 million were extracted from Mutoko district.

At least 98% of black granite extracted from Mutoko was exported to European countries like Germany, Spain and Italy.

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