WAR collaborators and a group of youths in Mashonaland Central have clashed with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) after they were blocked from conducting a limestone mining project at Umfurudzi Game Park in the Madziwa area.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The war collaborators and their youth counterparts claimed that they had signed a partnership deal with a Canadian investor and formed a mining company trading as CMK Mining Syndicate.
According to correspondences gleaned by NewsDay, the syndicate wrote to the provincial mining director, Forbes Mugumbate, in February last year requesting to be granted a special mining grant in the wildlife sanctuary.
Mugumbate then wrote to ZimParks indicating that his officials had visited Umfurudzi Game Park for inspection, approved and recommended the limestone project.
However, ZimParks’ then acting director-general Geoffrey Matipano refused to grant the licence, saying “the prospecting or exploration of any minerals in the parks estate is currently suspended through a board resolution due to conflicting land use”.
Angered by Matipano’s response, Mugumbate wrote to then Mines ministry secretary Francis Gudyanga on May 16, 2017, seeking his intervention.
“We received an application over part of Three Baobabs limestone deposit lying within the national park from CMK Mining Syndicate to prospect for limestone for cement manufacturing. From a geological perspective, limestone for cement manufacturing is a strategic resource,” Mugumbate said.
On January 12 this year following the coming-in of the new political dispensation headed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, war veterans secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda approached Environment, Water and Climate minister Oppah Muchinguri seeking her intervention in the matter, arguing the project was beneficial to both the community and country at large.
“The Mines ministry have already authorised the syndicate to carry out its mining activities at the park. This project will bring the following benefits to the nation: It produces cement, limestone for agriculture, agricates that makes tar and water purification chemicals of which Zinwa is having to import expensive chemicals from Kimberly, South Africa,” Matemadanda said in his letter to Muchinguri.
“We are worried over the denial of CMK Mining Syndicate to carry out mining when there are almost more than 32 other small-scale miners in Umfurudzi Game Park. This project is being championed by some war collaborators in conjunction with other party youths … Can you assist in giving them consent?”
Muchinguri’s office acknowledged receipt of the letter and is yet to respond.