The villagers from Chimanimani and Buhera rural constituencies in Manicaland province exposed the miners’ negligence in court papers filed in the High Court recently where their lawyers from Scanlen & Holderness were seeking an interdict prohibiting Marange Resources, Anjin Investments and Diamond Mining Company (DMC) from discharging their waste material into Odzi, Singwizi and Save rivers.
The villagers Rosemary Jena, Zakeu Nhachi, Elias Matsveruka, Isaac Ziwenjere and Mayimboti Mayimboti together with the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association accuse Anjin, Marange Resources and DMC of polluting rivers, which have been sources of water supply.
The release of untreated mineral waste and raw sewage, the villagers say has left the three rivers in their communities muddied, silted, dirty and loaded with chemical and metal deposits leaving the water unsuitable for household use and drinking.
The villagers charge that they have regularly depended on the rivers for their sustenance and can no longer do so as a result of the pollution, which has also exposed them to risks of contracting diseases such as cholera, cancer, typhoid and some skin diseases.
“The discharges by the defendants (diamond mines) violate the environmental laws of Zimbabwe and in particular the Environmental Management Act.
“Alternatively, the waste discharges by the defendants constitute a nuisance hindering the plaintiffs (villagers) from enjoying the usage of the public rivers as they have traditionally done for many years,” reads part of the villagers declaration filed together with a summons in the High Court.
Anjin, Marange Resources and DMC are part of the five diamond firms mining diamonds from the Marange diamond fields in partnership with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation since the government seized claims from African Consolidated Resources and parcelled them to the miners.
However, Finance Minister Tendai Biti, regularly protest that some of the diamond miners are not remitting adequate diamond revenue to his ministry to fund government commitments.