The Marange diamond fields are an area of widespread small-scale diamond production in Chiadzwa, Mutare West, Zimbabwe. Although estimates of the reserves contained in this area vary wildly, some have suggested that it could be home to one of the worlds richest diamond deposits.See more...
Diamond Mining companies are causing environmental pollution and health and human rights impacts to workers.
Expecially rivers are heavily threaten by mining:most of the surbubs in Mutare are located along Sakubva River, which then cuts across the city and passes through some villages before draining into Odzi River which in turn drains into Save River which passes through Marange. According to Mukokeri (1999) cited by Mapira (2011), Mutare City pollutes Sakubva River and its tributaries in three ways, namely by sewage, industrial and institutional waste. Zinc, lead, arsenic, mecury, but also detergents are being discharged from industries and are polluting river water, thereby endangering human and aquatic life. It is virtually impossible to find any life in Sakubva River. Rivers have also become turbid or muddy due to diamond mining activities, thereby decreasing water quality. A scientific study carried out by the University of Zimbabwe in July 2012 observed the presence of pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella which pauses health risks to the local community. Testing also suggests heavy metals. A water quality index conducted by the research team classified most of the river sites as bad and medium.There is also Municipal Sewage works at Gimboki which also dumbs sludge into Sakubva River. The effects of Sakubva River pollution are heavily felt in Dora communal lands where about 30 000 people rely on it for domestic and irrigation purposes. This community also has very few alternatives to Sakubva river due to poverty and lack of awareness on the dangers of using the polluted river water.
The government has also restricted movement in Marange, where hundreds of artisanal miners and villagers were killed by the Zimbabwe National Army in 2008. Villagers have complained that their livestock is dying due to the suspected poisoning of the river Save and its tributaries. Children have developed skin rashes after getting into contact with the water during swimming escapades or when crossing the river. Due to the politicization of diamond mining activities in Zimbabwe, the Environmental Management Agency is unable to enforce the country’s laws in Marange. Some of the companies started mining before conducting the Environmental Impact Assessment.
Moreover workers are being exposed to environmental hazards, they also complain of being physically and racially harassed by company security guards and are also underpaid and badly fed.