Diamond miners dump Chiadzwa families
Published: 06 January 2014
More than 3 000 families in and around the Chiadzwa diamond fields face hunger after their farmland was barricaded by mining concessions leaving them with nowhere to grow crops for sustenance, it has been established.
Their plight is exacerbated by the fact that some companies mining diamonds in the area appear not keen on building houses for affected families on land provided by Government in 2011 and, officials say, some diamond mining firms have been reluctant to give the families food handouts while at the same time stalling their relocation.
To that end, Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Christopher Mu- shohwe called on mining companies to expedite the required relocations.
Only 1 400 out of about 4 500 families from the diamond-rich area, Minister Mu- shohwe said, had been moved to Arda Transau four years ago.
Government provides land for relocations while the diamond mining companies must bankroll construction of houses and other amenities such as schools, clinics and roads.
There are seven companies licensed to mine diamonds in Chiadzwa: Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Anjin Investments, Diamond Mining Company (DMC), Jinan, Kusena and Gye Nyame.
They mostly operate as joint ventures with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation , which has come under fire from President Mugabe for not contributing to the national economy as it should.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa has since dissolved the ZMDC board, as well as those of the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe and Marange Resources. Marange Resources is wholly-owned by ZMDC.
Minister Mushohwe said: "Because of the mining activities in the area, most of the people lost their (farming) fields since they are in mining concessions, meaning that they cannot farm for subsistence.
"We are happy that some few companies such as Mbada have been giving food handouts in Mukwada and Chiadzwa. But the other companies are not doing the same, something that is a worry to us. We have complained about that and urged them to emulate Mbada.
"We want them to make sure they relocate these families as a matter of urgency because our people cannot keep breathing and sucking dust from the mining activities where they are not getting anything."
Minister Mushohwe said there was still room for more relocations at Arda Transau and Government was ready to provide more land when asked.
He said some companies were not relocating families because they were on land where mining activities were yet to start. The companies, he said, ignored the fact that those families already lost their fields meaning they could not run sustainable lives.