'Marange environmental damage costs $20 million'

HARARE - Seven diamond companies that operated in the Marange area from 2007 to 2015 mined the area without rehabilitating mined out areas and the environmental reclamation exercise is estimated to cost well over $20 million, Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) chief executive Morris Mpofu has said.

Mpofu said no provision was set aside to carter for environmental reclamation by the mining companies whose operations stretched over 700 000 hectares.

“A trail of environmental devastation is still evident to this day and ZCDC is confronted with the responsibility to correct the damage through environmental reclamation programmes.

“ZCDC has thus deliberately taken an active role to ensure that the lives of this community are impacted positively from its diamond mining operations,” said Mpofu.

The ZCDC chief executive bemoaned lack of development in the Marange area saying it bears little resemblance of the wealth that the area has created, and has potential to create.

Mpofu added that the direct and indirect benefits to the community were very minimal in contrast to the revenue derived from mining activities in the area.

“ZCDC has taken deliberate action to engage the community with the intention of addressing key societal and environmental issues that impact the wellbeing of the community and its environment.

“While our social responsibility programmes are still in the initial stages of implementation as ZCDC itself is still a relatively new organisation, once fully implemented these programmes will immensely contribute towards sustainable community development.”

Even without selling diamonds for the greater part of 2017, Mpofu said ZCDC has managed to undertake significant projects which have been noted and acknowledged by its stakeholders.

The mining company’s contribution towards development to date includes employment creation for the local community (over 50 percent of ZCDC’s staff are from Manicaland) and ZCDC’s allocation of a fixed monthly percentage of its profits towards community development projects.

“To date ZCDC has funded the following projects; borehole installations and rehabilitation, sewing project which employs community members, construction of Gandauta Secondary School Science Block, reburial and tombstone projects, scholarship programmes for local students, agriculture irrigation projects, facilitation of the Greenbelt project and, farming season tillage and farm inputs provision.”

“Last year, we donated food and Christmas hampers to Bakorenhema and Kudavana children’s homes under chiefs Marange and Zimunya respectively.

“We also offer free medical consultations and treatment to all locals at the mine clinic, locals constitute an average of 30 percent of the total patients attended to at the clinic.”

Mpofu said ZCDC’s key priority projects in 2018 include rehabilitation of Odzi Road (30-35km), renovation of Chiadzwa Primary School, pothole filling project for the main road in Mutare CBD, rehabilitation and utilities repair for Arda Transau houses, borehole drilling and installations in schools and communities through water for health project and Mutare clean-up campaign and street lighting project in collaboration with office of the minister of State for Manicaland.”

ZCDC has also opened a Community Training Centre in Chiadzwa which enrols students in various technical disciplines which feed into the mining operations as well as other productive sectors.

ZCDC Vocational Centre will be running sewing training programmes for the community so that all protective clothing will be purchased from the trainees.

“To date 75 women and men from the Chiadzwa, Mukwada and Chipindirwe communities have already been enrolled for a cutting and designing sewing project which will see the women producing for ZCDC.

“ZCDC will engage Africa University and other tertiary institutions to set up some satellite campuses offering various programmes,” said Mpofu.

The ZCDC executive added that they have partnerships with minister of State for Manicaland and Mutare City Council on corporate social investment.

“We hope to embark on Mutare Farm Market renovation, Mutare city clean-up campaign, offer women and youth cooperatives technical and financial assistance,” said Mpofu.


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