A Chinese mining company Afrochine has restarted mining operations inside Mavhuradonha Wilderness, a World Heritage Site candidate, barely a year after its mining activities were banned by the government.
Foreign-owned companies that include Afrochine Smelting, Earthlink Minerals, and Lebanmon Investments are reportedly exploring for chrome in areas within the site despite a July 12 High Court order barring them from doing so.
Afrochine, a subsidiary of Tsingshan which is building a US$2 billion steel plant at Manhize, now has numerous claims that have already been inspected, with more set to undergo final inspections next January and March.
A source close revealed that gravel roads have been constructed for ease of transporting chrome ore. Said the source:
They are back and we have been made to understand they have the support of some council and Mines Ministry officials.
Efforts to shut them out have been futile as they have constructed their own roads and affected the flora and fauna in the park.
There is a danger that their activities risk the safety of animals as they are leaving open pits and risk us not getting world heritage site status.
Muzarabani Rural District Council (RDC) Chief Executive Officer Ennie Mutema and Guruve RDC’s Tinos Marisa were arrested last year by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC).
They were nabbed for illegally allowing Allen Mashumba, who had been linked to Chinese nationals’ mining operations, including Afrochine, within the wilderness.
Meanwhile, Afrochine’s Wilfred Motsi said they have not started mining activities in the wilderness. He said:
We have not started anything there, these are people we have been talking about (who misrepresent). Whatever we do we are always guided by the laws of this country, particularly the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA.
Motsi said their company had started a process to verify their suppliers’ source of chrome ore, and if they had the necessary approvals. (NewZimbabwe.com)