By A Correspondent- Residents of Hwange are up in arms with a Chinese company, Mutagech Mine, which they accuse of starting operations without consulting the community.
Mutagech Mine has embarked on a coal-mining project in Hwange.
In the Dinde area of Hwange, villagers have also been fighting a Chinese coal-mining project which is likely to displace them. Greater Whange Residents Trust co-ordinator Fedelis Chima yesterday told NewsDay that the company was given a special mining grant several years ago, but decided to resume mining activities this year without consulting them in line with the Environmental Management Agency (Ema) requirements.
“The company was given a special grant by the government about 10 years ago. The problem started this year when it wanted to resume mining operations. During the environmental impact assessment process, it only consulted a section of traditional leaders, leaving out a lot of other people.
We are not happy about this. It is using COVID-19 as a scapegoat.
We want the country to provide us with its project description so that we know about their environmental plans,’’ Chima said.
Ward 20 councillor Ishmael Kwidini said: “The mining venture is going to affect a lot of villagers.
“For example, ward 12 villagers are going to be affected more than those in ward 20. The company only consulted some ward 20 villagers and did not consult ward 12 villagers.
“It is difficult to co-exist with such a venture because it is clear that our grazing land and fields are going to be affected big time.’’
Sources told NewsDay that the leaders who were consulted by the company were given bicycles as inducements.
Mutagech project manager Donald Nkosana denied any wrongdoing.
“I have not heard about those complaints. The consultation process was done and so far we are at the project phase,’’ he said.