Zimbabwe: Glen Forest Residents Protest Against Mining Firm

Herald Reporter

Glen Forest residents are protesting against a Chinese company, Sunny Yi Feng, which they accuse of polluting the environment through irresponsible operations in the area.

But the company, a giant producer of tiles and other products in Norton says everything it is doing is in accordance with the laws and is committed to corporate social responsibility.

It is extracting feldspar in the area.

Glen Forest residents' affairs coordinator Mr David Tshuma said: "We have nothing against the Chinese company called Sunny Yi Feng who are desirous to extract feldspar.

"Like any other foreign investor, Sunny Yi Feng has a privilege to extract minerals from any part of our country as long as they meet Environmental Management Authority (EMA) requirements and understand the needs of the community from which they intend to operate.

"What we are driving upon is that they professionalise their conduct and behave like a sincere and honest investor. Currently their extraction method is not distinct from the makorokoza way, it is not methodical."

Mr Tshuma said the company just blasts, spreads dust all over the place, carry their ore away and leave nothing for the community. "Not even employment to local youths. In fact, they not only operate during the day but at night as well, making blasting noise to the residents.

"This is not an operation farther from houses but just about 400 metres away from the nearest house. The walls in some houses are cracking and dust is enveloping vegetation, fauna and roofs. It's terrible. The ore is carried by over 10 30-tonne tippers, which move in convoys emitting dust all the way in Glen Forest Road.

"It's a sad picture for house roofs in the area and as for pedestrians, it's pathetic how much dust they inhale and swallow. If they were serious investors, they would consider tarring the Glenforest Road from Domboshava Road all the way to their mine," he said.

Mr Christopher Hebert, Glen Forest Development Centre headmaster, said the dust raised by the vehicles fills classrooms, affecting students as they learn.

"We are afraid that if they continue to come like that, it will affect learners during examination time. Students should not write under a noisy environment.

"Another concern is that when they are blasting, the noise is terrifying and agitating. Sometimes we can hear the walls and the roof shaking; this is not normal, it should be addressed."

However, Sunny Yi Feng public relations officer Mr Abel Mukumba said the company followed all procedures before starting operations.

"We did everything that is right and necessary for the mine to operate, like all the documentation and all the certificates that are needed.

"On the issue of roads, we engaged the community and we rehabilitated the roads which we had damaged. That is part of the work we are doing as corporate social responsibility.

"In the future, we will do interventions which benefit the community since we will continue working together," he said.

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