BY STEPHEN CHADENGA VILLAGERS in Silobela are demanding that the redundant Jena Gold Mine claims be allocated to them as they are living in poverty while their area is endowed with gold deposits.
The Jena Mine claims were first pegged in 1979 before State-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) acquired them in 1984.
Despite being rich in gold deposits, the mine has been underperforming for over three decades.
A villager, Nqobizitha Nyoni, who lives near the mine, said there was a lot of poverty in the area despite gold deposits.
“We want to mine at the redundant mine claims. We followed the correct procedures, but up to now, nothing has materialised, and we recently learnt that a private company took over the mine last year. Our hopes of benefiting from the resources are fast fading away,” he said.
Silobela MP Mtokozisi Manoki Mpofu (Zanu PF) said on several occasions, he had engaged mine officials over mining claims so that some of them may be surrendered to locals.
“Nothing has materialised. I have even taken the issue to Parliament. I am still waiting for Kuvimba (Mining House) to come (to Parliament) to give us oral evidence,” he said.
Early this year, Mpofu asked Mines deputy minister Polite Kambamura to explain the status of Jena Mines.
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In response, Kambamura said last year Kuvimba Mining House acquired 85% of Jena Mines from ZMDC.
He said government had a 65% stake in the deal, with 35% owned by local investors.
“In terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR), Kuvimba will continue to carry out the CSR activities in the community which were being done by ZMDC such as road maintenance, “Kambamura said.
Over the years, local and foreign investors at the mine have been accused of failing to tangibly benefit local communities.
Follow Stephen on Twitter @jagganox78