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14 Apr 2019

Andrew Mambondiyani, The Epoch Times

Zimbabwe: Chinese mining firms accused of environmental degradation

‘Chinese Companies Tear Down Zimbabwe’s Environment’

The environmental impacts by some Chinese companies operating in Zimbabwe can only be described as catastrophic, according to leading environmentalist and human rights activist Farai Maguwu. Maguwu told The Epoch Times that some Chinese companies don’t even have proper licenses to operate in Zimbabwe. And as such, these companies are leaving trails of immense environmental degradation across the country, particularly those in extractive sectors such as gold, diamond, and chrome mining.

Villagers in affected areas have claimed that some Chinese companies discharge toxic waste into their water sources resulting in human diseases, a drop in crop yields, death of livestock, and dwindling numbers of fish in the rivers. Some villagers said tailings from the mines were clogging dams and rivers and affecting the availability of water for irrigation. In Marange diamond fields, these allegations were vindicated by a scientific research study done by the University of Zimbabwe and commissioned by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association which proved that there were high levels of toxic waste in the rivers.

…Zimbabwean legislator Prosper Mutseyami also alleged that Chinese companies enjoyed protection from the government, as China is currently the biggest investor in Zimbabwe…the government was afraid to anger China, which is among the few countries that currently support the Zimbabwean government. In the past few years, China has availed loans and grants to the Zimbabwean government for various infrastructural projects including the expansion of Robert Mugabe International Airport and to upgrade the country’s electricity power plants in Kariba and Hwange.