Zimbabwe: Small-scale chrome mining endangers environment & livelihoods

Author: Blessed Mhlanga, The Standard (Zimbabwe), Published on: 3 December 2018

"The Midlands chrome curse: Miners leave trail of destruction", 18 November 2018.

... Ndlela, a widow, says her family has never known peace since chrome deposits were discovered at her farm along the Gweru- Zvishavane highway... Ndlela’s nightmare is shared by many in the sprawling village, which has been taken over by syndicates, some of who are digging close to the Gweru-Zvishavane highway and close to schools. Mapanzure is now littered with disused opencast mine pits that have become death traps to villagers and livestock... The small-scale miners use heavy-duty equipment to extract chrome with little regard to infrastructure such as roads and schools...One of the miners, Tonderai Machira, who operates with a syndicate popularly known as ZimAssets, says they do not prioritise the rehabilitation of the land because of the low margins they realise from the venture... Meanwhile, Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya, a former worker in the chrome industry, said middlemen and end users of ferrochrome were reaping huge profits while communities in the mining areas were wallowing in poverty... Chrome fetches high prices as a finished product mainly in China where it is used as an alloy in the production of stainless steel and aviation metals... The value of processed chrome is 100 times higher than that of newly-mined chrome.

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