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Zimbabwe: Communities battle with mining firm as they fear proposed project may displace them

‘Chinese Miners Torch Another Storm in Hwange’ 22 February 2021

Hwange — Chinese miners have once again torched a storm in Hwange after they started exploring in Dinde just outside the coal mining town, stirring anger among villagers who fear being displaced. In September last year, two Chinese companies courted the anger of not only the Hwange community but a cross section of Zimbabweans and wildlife activists as well as conservationists after they explored for coal in the protected Hwange National Park. Workers from the two companies were discovered by Zimparks rangers while drilling in the game park and were handed over to police, but the Asian nationals produced a permit showing they had been granted a special grant by President Mnangagwa.

…In the latest incident, some Chinese are reportedly exploring in Dinde, about 30km outside Hwange town along the Hwange-Bulawayo road as well as around Dete and Makwandara areas where there are rumours villagers will be displaced. A series of meetings have reportedly been convened as villagers have vowed to block any mining activity within their community. There are reports that the Chinese explorers move in the company of some local leaders (names supplied) who are believed to be assisting them settle in the area. Angry villagers allege that some local leaders may have made underhand deals with the Chinese in return mining land.

…"We wouldn't be having problems if all companies in Hwange left 10 percent of their profits. There wouldn't be poverty. A lot of wealth is being shipped out of Hwange including Victoria Falls which is the cash cow of the district yet locals don't benefit," said Sibangani Dube. The villagers accuse local leaders of making decisions for the community without any consultation hence they have called for amendment of some laws. A commissioner with Gender Commission Obert Matshalaga said clandestine mining activities and displacement of communities have dire impact of women and children. Hwange Central MP Daniel Molokele implored locals to get into partnerships or set up companies and assert their rights so as to own the means of production