Press release 4 December 2018
Penhalonga community devastated by land degradation
Land degradation, food insecurity and water pollution in the Mutare river has led to loss of animal and human life in the gold mining village of Penhalonga in Manicaland, a province in eastern Zimbabwe.
Two people have died,as have a number of cattle, and the river has shifted its course more than 10 times in the past 5 years.
These social problems have led to the suspension of the mining company, DTZ-OZGEO (Pvt Ltd) in Penhalonga by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), an agency of the climate and environment ministry.
“In 2014, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development made a resolution to terminate the company’s mining licence. The mine left massive land degradation, and since that time there have been illegal gold mining activities happening there,” says community member Lloyd Sesemani
According to Sesemani, the community of Penhalonga has never benefited from DTZ-OZGEO mining activities. The community was not consulted before mining operations began in 2007,and since then there has been no meaningful contribution to services such as road maintenance, and the building of infrastructure like schools and bridges.
There are rumours that the government of Zimbabwe has engaged a mining company from Belarus to restart mining operations in Penhalonga. “We are not against any mining company operating in our community, but we are just against having history repeating itself. With DTZ-OZGEO several families lost farming land which was their only source of livelihood and most of them are now living in abject poverty,” says Sesemani
The community has met and outlined the issues to be addressed before mining activity can resume. These include meaningful consultation with all stakeholders around issues like development in the community, ensuring local procurement, and ensuring the employment of local people in the mines. The mine must have an environmental impact assessment certificate from the EMA. And there needs to be meaningful compensation paid to those who have been affected by operations
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