Many Zimbabweans had envisaged the vast mineral wealth in the country bringing them social and economic development
But as days go by, and mineral extraction in the country intensifies, it is becoming clear that mining growth might not necessarily culminate into poverty reduction for the masses.
Unlike other resources that can be used up and later replaced, minerals are non-renewable and once they are exhausted, that's the end of the story.
No one knows for how long Zimbabwe's minerals will last, but since export levels have reportedly been going up, it would not be too farfetched to assume that some may run out sooner rather than later.
But imagining that minerals do finally run out, what will the masses, especially those that live in areas where the bulk of the minerals were discovered, have to show for "their" mineral wealth? In Zimbabwe, most minerals are found in rural and peri-urban setups, where mostly poor people live.
The fate of most communities that are located in mining areas does not presently look good. Besides the the fact that mineral wealth in their areas has not translated to better livelihoods for them, most mining activities going on have instead become a danger to their lives, a threat to their survival.
In Zvishavane, while the chrome, asbestos, platinum, gold and diamonds found in the area have been a cash cow for mining companies that have operated in the area, the mining activities are proving to be nothing but a death trap for the ordinary folk.
In Mapirimira Ward 5 under Chief Mapanzure, a Grade 7 girl died last year after she fell into one of the numerous open pits that have remained in the areas where mining activities have taken place.
This year, in the same area, a man was discovered in the trenches, dead. Most of those that survived after falling into these death traps have reportedly been crippled.
Livestock in the area have not been spared, as they are reports of numerous livestock losses as they continue to fall into the carelessly abandoned pits.
"We have appealed to the government to do something to close these pits because we continue to experience deaths. The fact that there is never any form of compensation offered to the affected makes things worse," said Norman Sibanda, the councillor of Mapirimira, speaking at the sidelines of the mining indaba hosted by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) last Tuesday and Wednesday.
Although the law requires that mining companies reclaim and rehabilitate the land to its previous state, or even better, after they are done mining, it is not a piece of legislation that locally operating mining companies seem to be taking seriously.
In fact, there appears to be a general manouvre around environmental legislation, if not all types of legislation. While the laws might be clear on paper, it is almost always a different case on the ground, with mining companies getting away with all kinds of atrocities every day.
The communities in Mutoko, from where a rich supply of black granite comes, are not fairing any better from communities in Zvishavane.
While granite mining has been yielding enormous amounts of money annually, the local people claim they have not benefitted in any way, but are instead suffering from the effects of granite extraction.
The granite quarries produce large amounts of dust and radon gas, which is considered a danger to a person's health.
Granite mining has further been linked to blindness caused by gases which usually emanate from granite extraction, as well as lung cancer and skin cancer from radiation.
As if that is not enough, vibrations from the blasting are causing cracks on houses and school buildings.
And to rub salt into the wound, trucks that transport granite from Mutoko leave behind a lot of dust. That is the raw deal the people in Mutoko are receiving.
"Better to stop the extraction until the community's needs are met," said a visibly irate Peter Sigauke, CEO of Mutoko Rural District Council.
Is it not about time that the mining sector brought more of relief to the people instead of more troubles?
As the new cabinet takes over, the Ministry of Mines might need to take a serious look at the way mining companies are operating and make the necessary changes.