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Zim to evict Chilonga villagers for diamonds, not dairy project – report

15 march 2021
Villagers in Chilonga – 35 kilometres south of Chiredzi town, in Zimbabwe –  who are facing eviction to make way for a dairy project by Dendairy allege that the hidden reason for their removal is precious minerals in the area such as gold and diamonds, according to the local media.
The NewsHawks cited unnamed villagers as saying that the lucerne grass project was a ruse as they think that the President’s business partners want to engage in secret mining activities.
A survey done by De Beers in the 1950s as well as an aeromagnetic exploration conducted by local firm Aero Surv Zimbabwe between 2019 and 2020 in partnership with Xcalibur Airborne Geophysics showed deposits of kimberlite diamonds and gold in the Chilonga area.

Source: NewsHawks

“The maps depict areas with deposits of coal, diamonds, scheelite and quartz in Chiredzi. The stretch runs from Save in Chiredzi North where copper mines like Cobra Mine, which are now closed, once operated from,” an unnamed official was quoted as saying.
“The other area covers coal mining in Chisambiji which again is in Chiredzi North constituency. “The belt stretches from Save to Chipinda, which is in Gonarezhou, down to Masivamele and Makhosiya on the banks of the Runde River. This is the area which Dendairy has been allocated.” 
An unnamed village head said they were watching the issue closely.
“We can tell you that this grass project is just a cover so that these guys, through their proxy Dendairy in this case, can extract minerals in this area. While Dendairy will be producing grass, they will be mining,” said the village head.
“We have to ask ourselves why they have come from the Midlands, leaving other provinces where there is a lot of empty land, to establish the grass project here; an area they hardly care about.
“More curiously, what is the connection between the grass project by the President’s associates and the orphanage by his wife here? We are not against investment and development, but we are worried about their real intentions and our fate. We were never consulted or given any details about these things. We know there are minerals in this area first detected during the colonial era, in 1956, and there are various pegs which point to that.”
The Zimbabwean government recently ordered 12 000 people to permanently move from their homes to pave way for Dendairy’s lucerne grass production project.
Dendairy is based in Kwekwe, some 378km from Chilonga.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished