Will Zimbabwe Lift the Ban on DTZ-OZGEO Mining Activities Along Mutare River in Penhalonga?
DTZ-OZGEO is a partnership between the Development Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ) and a Russian registered company called Econedra. Vice President Dr. Joshua Nkomo initiated the set up of DTZ in 1989 with the vision of ensuring that Zimbabweans become active participants in development projects through sustainable management of their natural resources . Leaders of Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) agreed that part of the profits from the trust’s projects would also be used in the development of Matabeleland to offset low government investment in that region. The political base of DTZ has played a key role in the development of the alluvial gold mining project along the Mutare River in Penhalonga and diamond mining in Chimanimani to mention but just a few (CRD 2012). The Centre for Research and Development (CRD) undertook a research on the socio-economic and environmental impacts of gold mining in Penhalonga in 2012. In this study it was found that mining was undertaken against environmental laws which prohibited mining within 30 metres of the river bed. The consequence of mining in the riverbed has been water resource degradation, loss of biodiversity and dust pollution impacting negatively on the mining community. The CRD also found that there was competition in the extraction of gold deposits along Mutare River between DTZ-OZGEO and artisanal miners who considered Mutare River to be their source of livelihood. At the DTZ-OZGEO mining field, Joseph Mutasa was found dead in 2013 where he had gone to pan for gold. Following revelations of destructive mining practices in Mazowe River by small scale Chinese miners In December 2013, government ordered mining companies to stop mining activities in riverbeds. DTZ-OZGEO was not spared, and in April 2014 the company appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Water, Tourism and Hospitality to have the ban lifted CRDZIM 2 sighting the plight of over 400 workers who had lost their jobs following the ban.