BY SILISIWE MABALEKA
BULAWAYO residents in Pumula North are living in fear due to heavy blasting works at a nearby Chinese quarry mine.
A Chinese firm, Haulin Quarry Mining Company is conducting quarry mining on the outskirts of Pumula North suburb near Pumula High School and Methodist village.
Residents expressed concern over the explosion and noise pollution emanating from the mining site.
They told Southern Eye that they felt the ground shaking from the blasting activities at the site.
Chairperson of the Unemployed Association and founder of the Pumula Leadership Forum Givemore Mangena said they were worried about the effects of the blasting that might lead to infrastructural damage.
“We are worried about our houses and the school.
“The noise is too much and it might demolish our houses and the school,” he said.
Mangena said residents were considering reporting the matter to the Environmental Management Agency (Ema) so that it demands an environmental impact assessment from the Chinese company, and to find out if the residents’ properties are safe.
The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association executive council secretary for administration Thembelani Dube, said the effects of explosions were discussed by the residents and the director of Haulin Quarry Mining Company, Hau Haung.
He said the outcome of the meeting was that they would be a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the company and residents on the issue.
“A verbal agreement is not enough, a memorandum of understanding should legalise the company’s dealings in the community in case there are infrastructural damages.
“The affected people should be compensated in the event of a crisis,” he said.
Dube said Haung showed them that the company was properly documented.
He said Ema and council were also engaged on the possible effects of the Chinese company’s blasting activities.
“The positive issues outnumbered the negatives, hence Haung was allowed to operate.
“The company’s 10-year lease is set to expire in 2031,” he said.
Haung agreed to sign a MoU with residents, and assured them that the company will ensure that the blasting does not cause any damage to their houses.
“”I am sorry about the damage caused, it will never happen again.
“This blasting is not a long-term thing.
“I have also ordered the engineers to reduce the explosives,” Haung said.
Ward 17 councillor Sikhululekile Moyo could not immediately comment on the issue as she said she was in a meeting.
The noise pollution is affecting people in Pumula South and Magwegwe West which is 3km away.