Villagers in Hwange’s Dinde village are up in arms with a Chinese coal mining company they allege intends to evict them from their 470 000ha of land, Indaba has learnt.
The villagers reportedly want to petition Parliament over the matter as the coal mining company, Beifa Investments has already started mineral explorations in the area without consulting them.
Minister of State for Matabeleland North Province Richard Moyo confirmed that exploration has begun but assured the villagers that they will not be evicted.
Addressing the villagers on Wednesday, Minister Moyo said Beifa Investment was still at the exploration stage and no eviction notices have been given to any villager.
“No one is going to be evicted because there is no actual mining happening at the moment .President Mnangagwa has given them a special grant where they are still exploring for the minerals, when they finish the exploration that is when they will start mining if they find the mineral they are expecting,” said Moyo.
Moyo encouraged the villagers not to fight with investors as they are coming to develop the Hwange community.
“The operation of this mine will benefit the community through jobs, Hwange used to have Hwange Colliery Company Limited and ZPC but with the coming of new mines, it means more jobs are being created,” he said.
Despite the ministerial address, the villagers remain defiant citing that the Chinese Company may lead to disaster rather than development in the district.
The Dinde Residents Association Secretary Barnabas Dube told the Minister that they are not welcoming the Chinese Company because they showed their dishonesty by not engaging the community when they came first.
“The residents are not comfortable and are not welcoming these Chinese investors. The site where they want is our cultural heritage. We have our dip tank and a cattle loading bay there too.”
“Their existence may lead to water and air pollution. We are worried about the infringement of our constitutional rights. Zimbabwe’s Constitution states that it’s my right to a safe and clean environment, as a community we are saying no!” said Dube.
Meanwhile, company consultant Joshua Manyumbwa the Consultant said the grant they obtained is for 470 000 ha where they will be exploring the ground.
Their focus area is in Wards 13, 19 and 20.
He said Ward 13 which has 21 320ha is the one mainly affected by the exploration and 3 152ha of the Ward will be used for exploring with drilling of holes at specific points.
Manyumbwa also indicated that the exploration stage only accommodated 13 workers and of these, 10 will be general hands from locals and three machine operators.
Before Moyo addressed the villagers, Matabeleland North Provincial Mines Director Mr. Ngulube explained to the villagers the processes involved in getting a mining grant.
Environmental Management Agency (EMA), Ntandoyenkosi Mayisa also explained how consultations are carried out by both the mining entity, EMA, and the community before they issue out a mining grant. Nhau/Indaba