VILLAGERS in Marange yesterday called on the government to halt new mining operations in Chiadzwa by Chinese diamond company Anjin claiming that it has a “dark past” including human rights abuses.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
This comes after the government last week through Mines minister Winston Chitando announced the resumption of mining operations by Anjin Diamond Company in Chiadzwa.
Anjin operated in Chiadzwa from 2009 to 2016 before government revoked licences of diamond companies mining in Chiadzwa leading to the formation of the Zimbabwe Consolidation Diamond Company (ZCDC).
At a Press conference yesterday in Mutare the Amalgamated Chiadzwa Development Communities Trust (ACDCT), Marange Chapter chairperson Jay Kasakara, who was flanked by Centre for Research and Development director James Mupfumi, said in the past Anjin flouted environmental laws.
“The (ACDCT) is deeply saddened by the decision by government to allow new diamond mining operations in Marange without following due process. In the past three months the ACDCT has observed in dismay the unregulated diamond mining activities taking place in Chiadzwa by Anjin Diamond Company, which has a dark past,” he said.
“This unfortunate decision was confirmed by minister Winston Chitando on a local radio station. Anjin was one of the mining companies that also started mining operations in Chiadzwa community in 2009 without the approved environmental assessment plan,” he said
“Their mining activities destroyed the community infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools, degraded farming land, sacred areas and contaminated sources of (drinking) water,” he said
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“Over 4 000 cattle were lost after falling into mining pits, gullies and slime dams, around 450 families were relocated to Arda Transau without secured livelihoods and compensation for their losses,” he said
“ACDCT calls upon the government to immediately halt new mining developments in Marange and move with speed to implement some reforms such as undertaking a human rights due diligence process for the people of Marange to claim compensation for adverse impacts caused by Anjin Diamond mining,” he said
Mupfumi said the government should immediately stop secretive mining practices in Marange that are resulting in all sorts of human rights violations.
“The government has a constitutional obligation to protect human rights, the government is shielding opacity in Marange in order to maintain selfish interests,” he said