Chinese Mining Firm Causes Unrest With "Unlawful" Mineral Exploration Activities
A Chinese mining company, Zim Win Mining Private Limited, has caused unrest among some Zimbabwean villagers due to their alleged unlawful mineral exploration activities that resulted in substantial damage to ancestral land.
The company notified Kanyandura villagers in Mashonaland East province, that it intended to conduct a lithium exploration exercise in their area while requesting their consent to conduct the exercise.
However, some villagers did not consent to the mining company’s exploration activities; the company unlawfully excavated a portion of land, left a huge trench, and coerced the villagers to sign vague consent forms.
The villagers have enlisted the services of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) to demand that the company complies with relevant laws and regulations.
The human rights lawyers have also engaged the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and the Environmental Management Agency regarding the mining company’s unlawful activities, including the pegging of villagers’ land without consultation, exerting undue influence on the villagers, and a lack of an environmental impact assessment.
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Chinese companies operating in Zimbabwe have been accused of environmental degradation and human rights violations. In the mining industry, Chinese companies have been accused of exploiting Zimbabwe’s mineral resources without adequate measures to protect the environment and local communities. For example, Chinese mining companies were accused of causing pollution and environmental damage in the town of Marange in 2019.
Chinese companies have also been accused of violating human rights in Zimbabwe, particularly in the treatment of their employees. In 2020, workers at a Chinese-owned mine in Gweru went on strike to protest against poor working conditions and low wages. There have also been concerns about the lack of transparency and accountability in the operations of Chinese companies in Zimbabwe.
Despite these concerns, Chinese companies continue to operate in various industries in Zimbabwe, and their presence is expected to grow in the coming years.
The Chinese Embassy in Harare has often denied these allegations saying they were malicious and were being generated by Western countries that are threatened by Zimbabwe-Sino relations.