By Felix Matasva, Manicaland Correspondent
A CHINESE mining company, Freestone Mines has removed its mining equipment from the deforested Dangamvura Mountain in Mutare where it wants to set up a quarry stone mine.
The company was forced to withdraw the equipment from the site as irate residents piled pressure against the miner on the pretext the operation was near a residential area and water distribution pipes.
Mutare City leased its 6,5-hectare stand situated on Dangamvura Mountain to Freestone Mines.
According to a 10-year lease agreement gleaned by NewZimbabwe.com Freestone Mines would pay the municipality US$7 557 in annual rentals.
However, the Mutare City deputy director of engineering services, Tonderai Sango, Friday confirmed during a full council meeting Freestone mines had run afoul with the lease agreement by starting works without an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate and approval from the city engineer.
Freestone Mines director Ruoxin Qi confirmed Monday to NewZimbabwe.com they had removed all equipment from the site to show residents they were willing to comply with the Local Government Ministry’s directive.
“We have withdrawn all our equipment from the site to show that we are 100% following the order from the local government,” Qi said.
He added Freestone Mines will implement corporate social responsibility programmes, including revegetation of the deforested Dangamvura Mountain and road construction.
“We shall be heavily involved in re-greening the city as part of the corporate social responsibility. We intend to start tree planting city-wide, starting with Dangamvura Mountain so that we restore the environment and that will also act as a shield in terms of dust prevention.
“We also intend to use part of the quarry stones for road construction as we have realised most of the roads are in bad shape and we feel we can also play a part and contribute towards roads trafficability as part of the long term plans,” Qi said.
The Chinese company stated that it will deploy technology aimed at reducing the negative effects of quarry stone mining including dust, blasting noise, and vibration.
He also noted that the company is anxious to engage relevant stakeholders so as to ensure that they have an appreciation of the project scope.
City of Mutare Monday engaged with residents associations and rights groups regarding the quarry mine.