Villagers drink from the gully as miner shuts well

EnviroPress Reporter

Dozens of families in Murape village on the old Nollen Farm are now fetching water for domestic use from an open gully (pictured) because Bikita Minerals closed off a deep protected well that had been their source of potable water for decades.

Bikita Minerals claims that the well is located within their mining lease area therefore villagers have no right to trespass.

Villagers argue that their right to clean water have been violated as the mining company has suddenly banned access to the well without providing them with an alternative.

The Bikita Institute of Land and Development says the mine is ignoring genuine concerns from the villagers and is aggravating their vulnerability to climate shocks in a particularly dry year characterised by El Nino-induced severe drought.

The well was drilled by previous owners of the mines decades ago and the mine would let villagers drink from it.

However, the new Chinese miners who took over the company in January 2022 do not want the villagers to draw water from it.

Bikita Minerals has changed ownership several times since minerals were discovered there in 1910.