Zimbabwe: Chinese Miner Ignores Environment Assessment, Starts Quarry Mining in Dangamvura, Mutare

18 November 2021

Mutare — A Chinese Company, Freestone Mines, and the Mutare City Council have come under fire from residents after started mining for quarry stone on the deforested Dangamvura Mountain without going through an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process.

The mountain is under the local council's land and is known as stand number 13415 Mutare township.

The eastern border city's authorities have now leased the stand to Freestone Mines to conduct its quarry stone mining.

However, the development has not been received well received by the residents who are questioning the local council officials to disclose information on the mining operations at Dangamvura mountain without their knowledge.

The Mutare City Council Tuesday was forced to release a statement to dismiss the Chinese miner's operations and confirm it had failed to produce evidence of carrying out the required EIA process before starting operations.

"It has come to the attention of council that the investor had started preparatory work for commencement of operations. Council has since directed Freestone Mines to stop any operations forthwith until they have either met the conditions of the lease agreement or, in the event that they have already met the conditions, until they have presented to council evidence of the same," reads part of the statement.

"In terms of the lease agreement, Freestone Mines can only commence any activity after meeting certain conditions that are mandatory, i.e obtaining an EIA and consulting the department of engineering and technical services. The process of obtaining an EIA involves stakeholder consultation, which process should be carried out to its logical conclusion."

NewZimbabwe.com failed to get a comment from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) Manicaland provincial manager, Kingstone Chitotombe Wednesday as he was not picking up calls on his mobile phone.

United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Trust (UMRRT) programmes coordinator Edson Dube rapped Mutare City for leasing its stand to the Chinese miner saying, the local authority must rescind its resolution.

"You cannot be blasting alongside a pipeline that provides water to thousands of suffering Dangamvura residents. You cannot be blasting quarry and concrete in the vicinity of a residential area," he said.

Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Association MURRA coordinator David Mutambirwa demanded a comprehensive EIA and agreement documentation before operations started.

"The Chinese have been given the green light to mine for quarry on the Dangamvura Mountain without consulting stakeholders such as the traditional leadership, spirit mediums, and the residents. The EIA was not done and if was it was done, it is invalid because the community was not consulted. Depletion of mountains brings environmental effects and vengeance from the spiritual world," Mutambirwa said.

The most common purpose of quarries is to extract stone for building materials.

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