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Zimbabwe: Villagers Up in Arms As Diamond Firm Sets Mine At Local School

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Villagers in Sese, Chivi Central in Masvingo province have given local mining giant, RZM Murowa, better known as Murowa Diamonds an ultimatum to leave the area accusing the company of neglecting the community’s concerns.

Under the Sese Community Trust, villagers accused Murowa Diamonds of bringing sorrow since it started exploration of diamonds in 2018.

The villagers are also angry and accuse Murowa Diamonds of invading and illegally occupying premises of Danhamombe Secondary School in Ward 20.

The mining company has since and constructed structures without the approval of relevant authorities.

In addition, the mine is also accused of illegally using the school’s water and electricity for its activities at the mine camp site. The villagers further claimed they were losing livestock as a result of poor chemical waste management adopted by the mine workers.

The Sese Community Trust chairperson, Kasirai Chamboko told NewZimbabwe.com during a recent visit to the area that the company’s presence in the area, had greatly affected the local community.

He said the mining activities at the school were further disturbing learning for pupils who take their lessons only 50 meters from the camp site due to noise pollution from heavy mine machinery.

“Their camp is in the school yard, where they have constructed their offices in what used to be the school’s sports fields,” said Chamboko.

“Now our children are no longer doing sporting activities while learning has been greatly affected here due to noise from the mine’s machines.

“They never engaged the community when they came in. They just came and built structures and started operations. The mine has become a cause for concern for community.”

The school’s development committee (SDC) has since given Murowa Diamonds until Saturday, 5 December to wind up operations and leave the area.

In a letter addressed to the mine chief executive, the SDC chairperson, Junias Gurajena said the mine should remove all its assets from the school premises to pave way for a school agricultural programme.

He also ordered the mine to immediately stop the use of the school’s water and electricity for its activities.

Repeated efforts by NewZimbabwe.com to get a comment from the mine management were fruitless.

However, the local councillor in the area, Alec Mhundu said the mine had also not formalised its operations with the Chivi Rural District Council (RDC).

“What the villagers raised is a cause for concern because as a local authority we are not aware of Murowa Diamonds’ existence or who gave them the permission to be where they are operating from,” said Mhundu.

“Council should be collecting rates from them and if they are indeed genuine miners, they should formally apply for land to the local authority.”

RZM Murowa is a leading diamond mining company in Zimbabwe also located in Zvishavane and is a member of RioZim. It changed its name from Murowa Diamonds to RZM Murowa in 2019.

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