BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
VILLAGERS in Uzumba, Mashonaland East province, are up in arms against a Chinese company, Heijin Mining, whose black granite mining claim covers the entire village.
This was revealed in a letter addressed to Mashonaland East provincial mining commissioner dated September 3, in which Lovemore Kaseke, through the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) is demanding copies of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) certificate and the miner’s prospecting licence.
The letter was copied to the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).
“Our clients are residents of Kaseke village in Uzumba together with his clan, the Kaseke clan. Our client advises that Heijin Mining Company purports to be a holder of mining blocks in Kaseke village and officials from the said mining company and from the ministry have proceeded to peg the whole of our client’s village without consulting our clients,” the letter read.
“Our clients advise that the pegs cover their homesteads, grazing areas and cultivating fields. To that end, we kindly request any prospecting licence that was granted to Heijin Mining Company,” the letter further read.
The invasion of Kaseke village has irked traditional leaders, among them Chief Nyajina, who is encouraging his subjects to resist the takeover of the land.
“In the event that a prospecting licence was granted to Heijin Mining Company, it is our considered view that the pegging of Kaseke village is unlawful in terms of Section 31(1) of the Mines and Minerals Act, a holder of a prospecting licence shall not exercise any of the rights conferred in the licence on communal land without the consent of the occupier. The pegging of Kaseke village without the consultation of occupiers is, therefore, unlawful.”
“Further in terms of section 31(1) of the Mines and Minerals Act, no holder of a prospecting licence can proceed to peg communal land occupied as a village without the written consent of the rural district council of the area concerned,” the letter added.