CHIEFS from Midlands province Sunday listed their expectations from Kuvimba Mining House (KMH)’s Sandawana Lithium mine in Mberengwa, stating that the resource should benefit the community first before the nation.
Through their chairperson, chief Ngungumbane born Zama Mkhwananzi the chiefs said KMH now has their blessing to mine lithium after it arranged a stakeholder meeting that was also attended by Mberengwa community members.
A total of 15 chiefs attended the meeting.
Mkhwananzi said the community is expecting a lot from the mine as such it should work towards ensuring that their demands are met.
“Some people will be displaced due to mining activities. We expect that KMH will draft a policy. Look for an alternative settlement. We also expect that those affected will get compensation.
“We also expect that the school (Sandawana primary) should be moved, as well as homesteads. When you build, we want ideal model homes. Not like what happened in Marange where houses built for the displaced villagers cracked down within a short period.
“As chiefs, we also expect that local service providers will be contracted. It’s our time. Our children should benefit. If you don’t get specialist services from the Mberengwa community then you can contract outsiders.
“This is our resource. This is a Zimbabwe resource but our children should benefit before Zimbabwe benefits,” said the chief.
Mkhwananzi also said the mine should create a one stop centre, where the mining community can access all services without the hustle of travelling to other towns and cities.
“This place should be turned into a town. We want banks, we want all services that can be found in Harare and Bulawayo then we can say we have development.
“Mberengwa is lagging behind in terms of electrification and we expect that you will build a solar plant specially to benefit the community.
“We also expect that the girl child will get employment opportunities. As Chiefs we demand equal opportunities.
“You are getting water from Wanezi dam. We expect that you will rehabilitate this dam. You have to build another dam and leave the community to use their dam,” he said.
Godwin Gambiza, the Sandawana general manager said the mine will try to fulfil some of the requests stage by stage.
“We will be engaging other government stakeholders like the rural district council to make sure the community benefits,” he said.
Gambiza said among other things, the mine so far employed over 1 500 members of the community and started the road rehabilitation program.
KMH, an investment and holding company, took over Sandawana Mine in 2019.
The mine had shut down in 2010 due to working capital challenges and depletion of emerald resources.
KMH is developing Sandawana Mine into a high-grade lithium deposit mine.
To date, KMH has injected a total of US$ 56 million to revive operations and explore lithium and other mineral resources.
Lithium open-pit mining operations commenced in January 2023. – (New Zimbabwe)