By Felix Matasva, Manicaland Correspondent
CHINESE firm, Freestone Mines, has abandoned the quarry mining project it intended to undertake at a mountain overlooking the densely populated Dangamvura suburb following sustained pressure by the media and civil society organisations.
Last year in August, Mutare City leased a 6,5 hectare stand located at the deforested Dangamvura Mountain to Freestone Mines.
According to the lease agreement, Freestone Mines would pay Mutare City a paltry of US $7 557 per year in annual rentals.
However, due to extensive pressure piled by residents against the quarry on account of environmental concerns given its proximity to human settlements, the previously headstrong miner decided to abandon the project.
Freestone Mines, through its lawyers from Mushoriwa Pasi Corporate Attorneys, wrote to council this week expressing its intentions to nullify the highly contentious project.
Acting Town Clerk Blessing Chafesuka’s report directed to council’s Business Investment and Economic Development committee seen by NewZimbabwe.com, reveals that Freestone Mines has given up on it.
“Freestone Mines Pvt Ltd took notice of the resistance from different people and stakeholders who are totally against the project. Freestone Mines, has through its lawyers, given a written notice of its Intention to cancel the lease agreement No MU/S23/19,” the document reads.
“The said basis for the same is that in terms of clause 10 (a) of the lease agreement, the lessee shall inform the lessor in writing, a month in advance, if he or she is no longer in a particular site,” it reads.
Mutare Deputy Mayor Farai Bhiza confirmed to NewZimbabwe.com that Freestone Mines had lodged an expression of interest to cancel the deal due to pressure from residents and civil society organisations.
“Due to pressure by people who have interests in conserving our heritage, Freestone Mines wrote to council seeking cancellation of a lease agreement. The Business Investment and Economic Development committee Tuesday unanimously agreed to accept the cancellation,” Bhiza said, adding that the committee’s recommendations will now go through a full council meeting.
“The cancellation by Freestone Mines is a welcoming development as it has pacified sour relations over the deal. It shows that council listens to residents and stakeholders. We have learnt a lesson that whenever council wants to embark on any project it must consult all affected stakeholders widely. The cancellation has enabled council to stop wasting time and resources on a deal which has been hanging over a long period of time,” the deputy mayor said.