Mwenezi wary as lithium chaos wreck neighbouring Mberengwa

EnviroPress Reporter

The Mwenezi community is keeping a watchful eye on the developments in their neighbouring district of Mberengwa in Midlands province after discoveries of rich lithium reserves which are believed to be found in Mwenezi as well but yet to be explored.

Both Mberengwa and Mwenezi districts share one common denominator of poverty in the land of plenty where perceptions of marginalization are rife.

The recent discovery of lithium, a key transitional resource in the quest for cleaner energy and the fight against climate change, has seen the lives of the Mberengwa locals being turned upside down by illegal miners who have descended on the district threatening anything and everything that stands in their way.

The lithium deposits were discovered at Sandawana, an old emerald mine which ceased operations many years ago.

On the other hand, Mwenezi is rich in gold, diamonds and alexandrite which are yet to be commercially exploited, and which locals feel will not benefit them even if fully-exploited.

Mwenezi East MP Master Makope said the chaos in Mberengwa over lithium should be curtailed as a matter urgency to deter similar destruction should such discoveries be made in Mwenezi district.

“Mwenezi is a poor district and we have a lot of problems here. When we heard that there were discoveries of lithium in Mberengwa, we got excited because it is a close confirmation that such deposits are found in Mwenezi as well.

“Lithium is key transitional resource which should be managed well because the world is moving towards clean energy. If such discoveries are made here in Mwenezi we would want the situation to be managed professionally and not the chaotic scenes in Mberengwa.

“The Lithium should be managed in such a way that the communities will benefit the most and its locals being uplifted,” said Makope.

Mberengwa community member Dr Takavafira Zhou said his community remain the most poverty stricken district in Zimbabwe.

“While the existence of lithium has been known for so many years, it is not until recently that there was a lithium rush in Mberengwa leading to the flooding of Sandawana area by over 7 000 artisanal miners and the Chinese.

“The looting, wrecking, siphoning and plunder of Lithium has reached unprecedented scales with much damage to the environment. Natural resources must be tailor made to guarantee political, economic, and social development,” said Dr Zhou.

This project was made possible through a partnership with the Southern Africa Trust. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent that of the Trust or its associates.