Wednesday, April 17, 2019

6000 artisanal miners evicted from claims

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More than 6000 members of a Chegutu-based mining cooperative face a bleak future following the granting of an order to evict them from the claims they are operating on.

Danagwe District Youth in Mining Cooperative (DDYMC) began mining operations in the Gadzema area just outside Chegutu in 2011 on a site that was not being exploited.

The cooperative is the lifeline for more than 6000 direct beneficiaries and has been producing about 120kgs of gold annually which is sold to Fidelity Printers and Refiners.

However, the tables have turned after the Supreme Court upheld a High Court decision ordering the artisanal miners to vacate the premises at the instigation of Breckeridge Investments, which holds title rights to the claims.

The artisanal miners are however, resisting the eviction and have since appealed to the Constitutional Court to have the order reversed.

DDYMC Chairperson, Stewart Luckford; Finance Director, Oliver Moyo and Secretary, Tendai Muruviwa have vowed to fight on, arguing that they invested heavily at the mine which they claim was being held for speculative purposes by Breckeridge Investments.

Chief Ngezi threw his weight behind the artisanal miners, saying evicting them will destroy their lifeline, adding that the miners are merely using just three of the over 360 hectares owned by Breckeridge Investments.

Breckeridge Investments legal representative, Mr Zweli Lunga revealed that the DDYMC youths were offered five alternative mining claims which they have refused to take up. He also said Breckeridge Investments intends to conduct open cast mining at the three claims illegally occupied by the youths at giant mine.