Miners must pay money pledged to Trust

The refusal by the diamond mining companies to fulfill their initial $10 million pledge to the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust undermines the President, who commissioned the Trust in 2012.

A clinic constructed by Anjin at Arda Transau relocation site.
A clinic constructed by Anjin at Arda Transau relocation site.

Marange miners had pledged $50m towards the trust, but not a cent had been realized.

Meanwhile, a severe food crisis is looming at Arda Transau as mines cut food supplies.

George Magosvongwe, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment said the miners had pledged $50m towards the trust, but not a cent had been realized.

“That money should be paid because that is what we agreed on. President Mugabe commissioned this trust and he said 10 percent of the miners’ proceeds the miners are getting from mining must be paid to aid community development,” he said in a recent interview.

The $200,000 each paid by Mbada Diamonds and Marange Resources was just to open a bank account, he said. Of this amount the six-member leadership of the Zimunya/Marange CSOT has to date spent in excess of $45,000, out of which about $31,000 has gone towards transport, allowances and board fees.

The Marange-Zimunya CSOT co-chairperson, Gilbert Marange, said the money would be used to rehabilitate roads, irrigations systems, clinics and schools. “As its stands there is nothing to show to the world that the richest mineral is being mined in our area. Those diamonds must benefit us,” he said. “A mock cheque for $1.5 million was given to Mugabe at the launch of the Trust but the money never came. It looks like the companies lied to the President,” he added.

Mines cut food supplies

Meanwhile, a severe food crisis is looming at Arda Transau where relocated villagers are grappling to survive after Marange diamond firms cut their regular food supplies and failed to provide income generating projects as promised.

“We were promised milk and honey when the diamond miners approached us in Chiadzwa…"

More than 1,000 households resettled in Arda Transau in 2011 to make way for the mines are seriously affected. The Arda Transau Relocation Development Trust is up in arms with the diamond firms demanding that they fulfil their promises.

Chairman Cephas Gwayagwaya said the trust was formed to address the welfare of the community dumped by the miners. “We were promised milk and honey when the diamond miners approached us in Chiadzwa. They told us that we were going to Canaan where our lives will change for the better but it’s totally the opposite,” said board member Caiaphas Mujuru.

Promises made to the villagers but yet unfulfilled include food relief, a compensation package, a primary and secondary school, clinic, clean water and support for income-generating projects for their livelihood. Although Anjin has built a clinic, and refurbished a primary and secondary school and Mbada has refurbished a school, these facilities are totally inadequate for the population.

“Anjin actually destroyed an old school that was in the area and rebuilt it. But the learning environment is not up to standard. Children are learning without desks and crammed since there are only two schools. Mbada actually added four blocks at Wellington School but it’s not enough to carter for all the kids. Over 1,000 villagers have to use one clinic built by Anjin. The one we were shown by Marange Resources when we came is yet to open its doors. It’s only used for show when officials are coming,” said ATRDT secretary Blessing Mafute. “We don’t even have a graveyard to bury our dead,” he added.

Post published in: Mining

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