The Mines ministry has given notice to cancel Chinese mining company Heijin’s certificates of registration by December 6 this year, following an uproar by villagers who are set to be displaced by its mining activities.
Heijin’s claims that face cancellation by the Mines ministry include the Kaseke claim, registered under ME1256BM and Chibvi 2, registered under ME1253BM.
The mine is extracting granite from Kaseke and Nenzou villages in Uzumba constituency.
In September, a high-powered delegation that included Cabinet ministers and Zanu PF leaders in the province descended on Uzumba on a fact-finding mission after villagers, led by Chief Nyajina, had openly resisted the invasion of their land by the Chinese.
In a letter seen by NewsDay dated November 6, Mashonaland East provincial mining director Tendai Kashiri said his office visited Kaseke and Chibvi 2 blocks on September 9 and realised that the land pegged by Heijin was actually not open to prospecting and
“Following complaints made to this office by the Kaseke community, Chief Nyajina and councillor Marowa regarding registration of two blocks of base mineral claims at Kaseke (ME1256BM) and Chibvi 2 (ME1253BM) in Uzumba, this office visited the blocks to assess the facts on the ground on September 9,” Kashiri said in the letter.
“The assessment found out that the two blocks of claims were registered encompassing people’s homesteads and fields in Uzumba without the consent of the occupiers of the portions of land. The registration of the two blocks was, therefore, done on land not open to prospecting and pegging, violating section 31(1)(g)(ii) of Mines and Minerals Act (Chapter 21:5).”
The letter, which was copied to Mines minister Winston Chitando, ministry secretary Onesimo Moyo and chief director technical services Charles Simbarashe Tahwa, gave Heijin the leeway to appeal against the proposed cancellation of its certificates of registration.
“In view of the above, notice is, hereby, given of intention to cancel the certificate of registration for Kaseke ME1256BM and Chibvi 2 ME1253BM in terms of section 50(1) of the Mines and Minerals Act (Chapter 21:05),”the letter read.
“The proposed date of cancellation of the certificate of registration for the two blocks is December 6. You may, at any time before December 6, appeal in writing to the (Mines) minister against cancellation. By copy of notice, you are, hereby, advised that any mining and allied operations on these two blocks are suspended with immediate effect.”
Around 89 villagers in Kaseke could be displaced, while 300 graves are set to be desecrated if Heijin is allowed to begin its mining operations on the 300-hectare land pegged without the consent of villagers.
Some families in neighbouring villages such as Mukonzi, Mangani, Machanzi, Gotora, Muzembe and Chimina are also likely to be affected.
Among Heijin’s directors is alleged land baron, Emmanuel Ndemera. Newsday