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Defiant mining syndicate returns to Matobo Hills

A mining syndicate that was forcibly evicted from Domboshaba village in Matobo district by locals in September after they invaded a world heritage site to prospect for gold has reportedly returned to resume operations.

Their return has shocked the locals who after evicting the miners received support from the government which outlawed mining operations in a protected area.

Read: https://cite.org.zw/villagers-block-mining-activities-at-matobo-hills-world-heritage-site/

The area which the mining syndicate had targeted falls within the Matobo Hills World Heritage Site and is protected under UNESCO.

In mid-September, Mazinahue Syndicate armed with a prospecting license from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development moved into Domboshaba village to prospect for gold but were evicted by locals.

The eviction of the syndicate caused trouble for the locals who were severely brutalised by anti-riot police forcing them to flee their homes and seek refuge in the mountains.

Read: https://cite.org.zw/matobo-villagers-brutalised-by-police-after-evicting-illegal-gold-miners/

A meeting was held to solve the impasse and angry Domboshaba villagers in Matobo demanded an apology from police while the government bowed to pressure and ordered the mining syndicate to stop its operations.

Read: https://cite.org.zw/matobo-villagers-confront-police-over-abuse/

During that meeting, officials from the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) also spelt out the importance of Matobo as a natural world heritage site..

But now, the mining syndicate is back and intent on continuing with its operations.

In an interview with one of the villagers, an elderly woman, Priscilla Nyathi, confirmed that the miners returned to the site Saturday.

“We are shocked that these people have the temerity to come back after it was clearly spelt out they could not conduct mining in our area. They even brought a compressor with them signifying that they are serious about looking for gold,” she told CITE. 

The elderly woman said locals had rushed to inform their ward councillor, Max Majahana Moyo about the latest development.

“Moyo told us as far as Matobo council was concerned the miners had no permission and went to them to ask why they were back. The miners gave Moyo their boss’s contact number and said they were just following orders. Moyo was to report back to the council,” she said.

“Their presence here is stressing us because last time we were brutalised by the police for safeguarding our community.”

Matobo Rural District Council Chief Executive Officer Elvis Sibanda told CITE he was going to visit Ward 25 to gather full facts concerning the mining syndicate.

“I heard the miners were back but I still have to confirm whether it is true or not and I am heading to Ward 25 today (Monday). I need to check and understand what is happening so I will definitely have detailed answers after my visit. I had also tasked the councillor in charge of that area to look into the matter,” he said.

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