Black Granite Mutoko, Zimbabwe

Description
quarrying companies are extracting the ‘black granite’ in Mutoko for export. The black granite has now been classified as a mineral by the Zimbabwe government. This is mainly due to its semi-precious nature and high value it fetches on the market. The 13 companies have employed about 3000 workers collectively and majority of the workers are unskilled and lowly paid. The extraction activities have seen the disappearance of landmark hills due to granite mining. The quarrying work itself is very noisy and disruptive to the serene atmosphere which this community was accustomed to. The working conditions are also deplorable as many workers have suffered injuries whilst others have died on duty. The community is angry that despite being the victims of environmental hazards created by the companies, nothing tangible is ploughed back to the community by the companies. There is therefore a growing sense of activism among the Mutoko residents who are demanding economic and environmental justice. The Envionmental Management Agency has also weighed in by accusing the mining companies of deforestation, noise pollution, destruction of farm land through rock waste depositing in the fields, cracks in houses through rock blasting effects, and destruction of mountains
Basic Data
NameBlack Granite Mutoko, Zimbabwe
CountryZimbabwe
ProvinceMashonaland East
SiteMutoko
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Waste privatisation conflicts / waste-picker access to waste
Deforestation
Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesBlack Granite
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsIn 2009 Mutoko District produced 121 000 metric tonnes of black granite which was estimated to be worth 12.1 million dollars. The Mutoko Rural District Council only received $18 000.

Project Area (in hectares)70000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population100000
Start Date1985
Company Names or State EnterprisesNatural Stone Export Company from Italy
Natural Stone Quarries from Italy
Manwick Granites from Italy
Natural Stone Matabu from Italy
Relevant government actorsMines Ministry, Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersBudja Environmental Conservation Trust, Mutoko Youth Development Association
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Genetic contamination, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Global warming, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Militarization and increased police presence
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Criminalization of activists
Deaths
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Migration/displacement
New legislation
Under negotiation
Development of AlternativesValue addition of black granite in Mutoko to ensure that the local community benefits in terms of employment and also in terms of development

Give authority to the Mutoko Rural District
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.There is still a lot of activism needed before the Mutoko black granite issue is resolved. So far government has only played lip service without stopping the mining of the black ground. Need for tight legislation that deals with investor identification, contracts etc
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Environmental Management Act

Mines and Minerals Act

Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe

Environmental Management Act

References

An Assessment Of The Benefits And Costs Of Black Granite Quarrying In Mutoko District, Zimbabwe: A Socio-Cultural, Biophysical And

Economic Approach, Tanyaradzwa Chigonda. Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa (Volume 12, No.3, 2010) (attached)

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ContributorFarai Maguwu
Last update08/04/2014
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