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2 Dec 2021

Bulawayo 24 (Zimbabwe)

Zimbabwe: Villagers in many parts of the country increasingly fighting with Chinese mining companies

‘Zimbabwe's rural communities resist opaque Chinese projects’ 14 November 2021

ZIMBABWE is witnessing growing conflicts between Chinese mining companies and indigenous communities who are being evicted from their ancestral lands without compensation to pave way for mining operations. Hundreds of villagers in different parts of the country have been evicted while others face displacement to make way for Chinese firms since the beginning of the year. In Mutoko, Mashonaland East province, Kaseke villagers face eviction from their ancestral land after a Chinese mining company, Heijin, was given a special grant to extract black granite on land covering 300 hectares. Similarly in Marange, Manicaland province, Chiadzwa villagers are resisting eviction to pave way for diamond mining by Chinese company Anjin Investments.

…Timothy Masamvu, a Chiadzwa villager, appealed for President Emmerson Mnangagwa's intervention, stating that the villagers were not benefiting anything from the company's mining operations. "We are worried because the company is not offering us jobs. "They are not considering us as people. Even those of us who are working at the company are complaining of poor salaries," he said. Jonathan Tsopo added: "Anjin should just stop the operations. "They abuse workers. "They have not done anything for the community, even improving our living standards. They are just here to collect diamonds and leave us with nothing to show."

…Centre for Natural Resource Governance director Farai Maguwu said citizens were not against exploration of minerals in their areas, but were challenging the questionable process of granting mining contracts, where the negotiations were done in secrecy. "The real problem is not the Chinese investors, but it is the government itself," Maguwu said. "From our research, when the miners started their operations throughout the country, the villagers were afraid to confront them. "But of late, the discontent against displacements is growing. People are becoming courageous to challenge displacements, as evidenced by the protests we have witnessed in Marange. "There is no consultation between the government and the villagers over the mining deals. The government is siding with the Chinese, instead." Maguwu said there was corruption in the implementation of the environmental impact assessments and the Mines and Minerals Act had fuelled the conflicts between villagers and Chinese