Victor Maphosa Herald Reporter
Glenforest residents in Harare are up in arms with a Chinese company which they accuse of polluting their environment through mining in their area irresponsibly.
The Chinese company is into the manufacturing of building material and is mining feldspar from Glenforest.
The Herald visited the area where the Chinese company is doing the feldspar mining.
Glen forest residents affairs coordinator Mr David Tshuma said all they want as residents is for the company to do its operations responsibly, taking into account the concerns of the community.
“We have nothing against the Chinese company called Sunny Yi Feng who are desirous to mine feldspar. Like any other foreign investor, Sunny Yi Feng has a privilege to extract minerals from any part of our country as long as they meet Environmental Management Authority (EMA) requirements and understand the needs of the community from which they intend to mine.
“What we are driving upon is that they professionalize their conduct and behave like a sincere and honest investor. Currently their mining method is not distinct from the Makorokoza way, it is not methodical. They blast, spread dust all over the place, carry their ore away and leave nothing for the community. Not even employment to local youths. In fact they not only operate during the day but at night as well making blast noise to the residents.
“This is not an operation farther from houses but just about 400 meters away from the nearest house. The walls in some houses are cracking and dust is enveloping vegetation, fauna and roofs. It’s terrible. The ore is carried by over ten 30 ton tippers which move in convoys emitting dust all the way in Glenforest Road. It’s a sad picture for house roofs in the area and as for pedestrians, it’s pathetic how much dust they inhale and swallow. If they were serious investors, they would consider tarring the Glenforest Road from Domboshava Road all the way to their mine. We have seen Gold mines, Platinum mines and others making communities from where they extract minerals happy by investing heavily in social areas.”
Mr Christopher Hebert, Glenforest Development Centre headmaster, weighed in saying they are worried of the health of learners.
“Their vehicles travel in a convoy and there is always a lot of dust in our classrooms which affects students as they learn. We are afraid that if they continue to come like that, it will affect learners during examination time. Students should not write under noisy environment.
“Another concern is that when the miner is blasting, the noise is terrifying and agitating. Sometimes we can hear the walls and the roof shaking, this is not normal, it should be addressed.”
Sunny Yi Feng public relations officer Mr Abel Mukumba said the company followed all procedures before they start operations.
“We did everything that is right and necessary for the mine to operate, like all the documentation and all the certificates that are needed. On the issue of roads, we engaged the community and we rehabilitated the roads which we had damaged. That is part of the we work we are doing as corporate social responsibility.
“In the future, we will do interventions which benefit the community since we will continue working together,” he said.