Angry residents in Shurugwi reject Unki Mine 50MW solar project
By Alvina Chiwanika | Masvingo Mirror |
SHURUGWI – Angry residents from Ward 19 in Shurugwi have rejected a proposal by Unki to construct a 50MW solar power station on a 138h piece of land in the area accusing the giant platinum mining company of being a bad corporate neighbour.
They accused the Mine of exploiting resources in the area without any benefits accruing to the community and making false promises since 1998.
They vented their anger on Christal Consultant, a company that visited Chironde Business Center on December 7, 2022 to do an Environmental Impact Assessment and engage the community.
The community also argued that part of the area from Mbada Camp to Tailings dam covering 238 hectares where Unki plans to establish the project is their grazing area. Unki claims it is within their mine lease area.
Unki human resources manager Evelyn Mawimba referred questions to the general manager who could not be reached by the time of going to press.
Makwikwi Co-operative chairman, Dickson Manyumbu, whose members are affected by the project described Unki as a bad corporate neighbor with bad relations with all surrounding communities. He accused Unki of abusing its financial muscle to force its will on poor villagers.
Residents said during the engagement with Tasara Marongedze of Christal Consultant that the mine in 1998 promised to concentrate its activities underground but this was never honoured as a lot of activities are happening on the surface.
The mine allegedly destroyed a community dip tank but never built another one as promised.
There were also promises to employ significant numbers of locals at the mine but only five have since been employed and food aid pledged by the mine had never been delivered, alleged the residents.
The meeting heard that there was a child involved in an accident and the family had not been compensated although the company was allegedly to blame.
Marongedze told the gathering that he was only there to take the people’s view on the project as he was not an Unki employee.
“I am here to tell you about the 30 to 50MW project which is to be constructed by 2024 and that 138h of land are needed for it. I am not here to tell you to accept or reject the project but to hear your views,” said Marongedze.
“We are not fighting against development but it must be noted that we are not benefiting anything from this mine that is not only making milking our resources but disrupting our way of life and bringing a lot of inconveniences to us. The mine should deliver on its promises,” said Manyumbu.