EMA blocks Murowa Diamonds return to Chivi

…as company’s aircraft crashes with diamonds on board

Rowesai Rusenga

The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has blocked plans by Murowa Diamonds to resume its exploration in Chivi district citing the lack for an updated Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to reflect the new circumstances.

At the end of January this year, Murowa Diamonds general manager Jonathan Mapisaunga, wrote to Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Ezra Chadzamira to notify him about his company’s intentions to resume bulk sampling in the Sese area of Chivi.

Murowa left the Sese communal lands in October 2021 after three years of controversial explorations that saw the diamond mining company clashing with villagers over a host of infractions including environmental damage and failure to establish rapport with the community.

Impeccable sources told EnviroPress that Murowa Diamonds now wanted to move back into Chivi and carry on from whence it left.

However EMA directed the company to apply for a new EMP to cater for the new scope of envisaged works as well as other changed circumstances by first engaging stakeholders and establishing rapport with the vocal local community.

Murowa said the resumption of exploration would entail digging a big pit to enable bulk sampling, an exercise that would take a month and result in noise and dust pollution in the area.

When contacted for comment, Murowa Diamonds Chief Executive Officer (CEO) refused to respond to questions posed to him, saying he was driving and he was not going to be available to give responses for some time.

The affected Sese community has previously taken Murowa Diamonds to court to force the company to vacate the camp which it had set at Danhamombe High School.

The community complained about the noise that emanated from the camp and the damage that the drilling vibrations wrought on school facilities including toilets.

However, Murowa Diamonds appealed the decision of the High Court at the Supreme Court and the matter is still pending.

The Sese community persistently protested the company’s presence staging a series of demonstrations while picketing at drilling sites in the area.

The villagers cited President Mnangagwa who had said the Government wanted mining companies to respect the concerns of locals and get their buy-in before embarking on mining projects.

EMA Masvingo provincial manager Milton Muusha advised Murowa that the initial EMP does not include mitigatory measures for the effects of the new scope of works.

On 13 February, a Murowa diamonds owned Piper 31 light aircraft (pictured) which was carrying diamonds, crashed in 16km south of Harare and injured all the people on board.

The company had reportedly outsourced the services of pilots after RZM Aviation, the firm that manages Murowa’s flying operations, fired all employees in December 2022.

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