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Scenic Boterekwa miner in bid to appease Zanu PF



CHINESE company Chenjxi (Private) Limited, which was in partnership with a local miner exposed by The NewsHawks last year in April after conducting illegal mining activities on part of the picturesque Boterekwa escarpment in Shurugwi, surprised many last week after revealing it would repair a broken Zanu PF vehicle and that of a local chief, as part of its corporate social responsibility commitment.


As reported by this publication last year, Ansh Blue 4/8, owned by Chrispen Mahara in joint partnership with Chenjxi, was given the greenlight by the Environmental Management Agency (Ema) to embark on shaft mining but ended up clandestinely including opencast mining and vatleaching under the name Anshi 68 North 2 and 3, project flouting environmental regulations.

Last year, Ema fined Mahara ZW$400 000 for illegal open cast mining activities at Boterekwa. Mahara was to later part ways with Chenjxi.

The chairperson of the portfolio committee on mines who is also Zanu PF Shurugwi South legislator Edmund Mukaratigwa was not amused by the land degradation at Boterekwa, saying there was a need for a clear plan by the mining company on its activities.

“As the portfolio committee, we call upon those involved to ensure that they have a plan for land reclamation and rehabilitation of the damaged environment as part and parcel of their instructive mining plans,” Mukaratigwa said then.

Even the local community leadership in the mineral-rich town bemoaned the environmental destruction at Boterekwa and said they were never consulted before the mining activities at the scenic mountain range.

But last week Chenjxi management met stakeholders including traditional leaders, government officials and politicians, among others, in Shurugwi where they denied prior allegations and promised to mine responsibly.

“We have invested US$21 million in the venture and were always in consultation with the chiefs. We are not going to cause any harm to the (Boterekwa) road or the environment,” the company’s managing director, Tapiwa Chipembere, said at the meeting.

“On social corporate responsibility, we are going to repair Chief Nhema’s vehicle  and a (Shurugwi district) Zanu PF vehicle which have broken for some time.”

Chipembere said Chenjxi would also patch potholes at Boterekwa and drill boreholes.
Not to be outdone at the meeting, Shurugwi war veterans representative Isaac Chivendera requested that the mining company construct an office for the liberation fighters in the district.

In comparison, Chenjxi’s counterparts in Shurugwi’s mining sector, for instance Anglo American Unki Mines, have constructed state-of-the-art roads, refurbished hospitals not only in the mining town but the Midlands and the country as a whole, built houses for their employees, among other social corporate responsibility programmes.

Chipembere however told stakeholders that the company employed 150 locals to economically empower them.

As earlier reported by The NewsHawks, sources close to Zanu PF said that some powerful politicians were involved, behind the scenes, in the mining operations at the gold-rich Shurugwi mountain range.

The surrounding communities have however not been amused by the miner’s degradation at Boterekwa, a place they have for years considered to be a potential tourism attraction.

Environmental experts say vatleaching produces large amounts of waste effluent which is acidic and the miner at Boterekwa has therefore been polluting the environment with toxic waste, putting the lives of animals and people in danger.

Due to the unauthorised open cast mining activities carried out last year, the natural landscape has not only been destroyed but part of the escapement has also been exposed to soil erosion and pollution of downstream water bodies.

Mining activities coupled with sub-standard environmental practices by both local and mostly Chinese gold and chrome miners along the Shurugwi-Zvishavane highway have left extensive environmental degredation, with people questioning the government’s commitment to stopping the illegal activities.

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