Zimbabwe: Murowa, Villagers Urged to End Tiff

18 November 2020

Masvingo Bureau

Diamond miner Murowa and communities in the Sese area of Chivi living on a possible new diamond field are being encouraged to negotiate their differences in a Government-run process to minimise the impact of prospecting on the community.

Murowa, which owns a diamond mine in the Mazvihwa area of Zvishavane and is separated from neighbouring Chivi by Runde River, has prospecting concessions in Sese where the firm has been exploring since last year.

The company wants to establish whether the kimberlite rock outcrops in Sese, nearly 50km from Masvingo City on the Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway, have commercially exploitable gems before deciding to open a second mine.

But villagers in Sese are complaining that the mining company is encroaching into their fields and homesteads and that the prospecting is disrupting learning by students at St Simon Zhara Primary and Danhamombe Secondary schools.

Murowa on the other hand maintains its activities are above board and in compliance with national laws.

While the stand-off has spilled into the courts, Murowa wants an amicable solution to pave way for peaceful co-existence.

Chivi district development coordinator Mr Innocent Matingwina said there were processes underway to break the impasse.

"There have been previous attempts to break the ice between Murowa and the Sese community over the miner's exploration activities and there was closure," he said.

"So, we are continuing with those efforts and I am happy that both parties are amenable to finding a solution to the impasse.

"Murowa has already given us hints that they don't want to muddy their relations with the local community, hence they are open to talks so that there is finality with both sides satisfied. If there is acrimony, how will the parties work together in future?"

Mr Matingwina was upbeat about prospects of harmonious co-existence between the feuding parties.

"I think most of the concerns raised by the community have since been attended to and now I think there are one or two individuals who are still at odds with the diamond miner in Sese, but I am hopeful a solution will be found," he said.

Mr Matingwina said he was in the process of gathering historical details to the problems to find ways of solving the impasse.

At the centre of the dispute between Murowa and the Sese community are charges by the farmers that the miner has already started mining diamonds while purporting to be doing exploration works.

The Sese people also want clarity on compensation in the event that they are displaced by the planned mining activities and also how they will benefit from the gems if they are found on their ancestral land.

Murowa made it clear beforehand that exploration was going to run for three years from last year with the decision on opening the mine depending on results from the ongoing exploration.

Murowa is one of the four firms extracting diamonds in the country under the new diamond policy.

The other three are Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company, Alrosa and Anjin.

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