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Chimanimani Diamond Mining, Zimbabwe


The Development Trust of Zimbabwe, working in partnership with a Russian company OZGEO is mining gold and diamonds at Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani. Although the company claimed that it wants to start mining diamonds in 2012, local residents say DTZ OZGEO has been mining diamonds for over 3 years and never remitted any cent to treasury. They claim to have been prospecting. The farm at which both diamonds and gold is being mined is in dispute following the forced eviction of its owner, the former Member of parliament for Chimanimani Roy Bennett. He was evicted during the violent land grab exercise initiated by ZANU PF in 2000. The coming in of DTZ OZGEO to the farm was political, meant to effectively rule out the return of Bennet who has won several court battles to recover his farm but has been barred by the army from returning. DTZ OZGEO has been accused of committing gross human rights abuses by the local community whom it accuses of diamond panning. Locals complain of having dogs set on them, being beaten up and racially insulted by the Russians who appear untouchable due to their political affiliation.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Chimanimani Diamond Mining, Zimbabwe
State or province:Manicaland
Location of conflict:Chimanimani
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Mineral ore exploration
Military installations
Specific commodities:Gold
Project Details and Actors
Project details

DTZ-OZGEO director Ismail Shillaev declared that: From June last year we have been producing on average 250 carats per month which has improved and as of June this year, we have reached a 1 000 carat mark per month. The highest price achieved on the market for our diamonds has been US$120 per carat.

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Project area:70000
Level of Investment:N/A
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:100,000 - 120,000
Company names or state enterprises:Development Trust of Zimbabwe from Zimbabwe
OZGEO from Russian Federation
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation from Zimbabwe
Relevant government actors:Chimanimani Rural District Council, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe National Army, Ministry of Mines and Mining Development
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Center for Natural Resource Governance, Chimanimani Development Trust, Centre for Research and Development,
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Air pollution, Fires, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Oil spills, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Potential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Under negotiation
Violent targeting of activists
Development of alternatives:The community has formed a Community Based organisation, Chimanimani Development Trust to engage government and other stakeholders which include DTZ OZGEO and Chimanimani Rural District Council for a round table to discuss the human rights situation in the area, environmental issues arising out of the DTZ OZGEO operations and the land question. They want activive participation in everything happening at the mine from the actual mining itself to the final marketing of the gems and gold and ensure that the community is not being shortchanged by the mining company
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:DTZ OZGEO is too powerful due to its connection with ZANU PF and the army. Consequently they do not respect the concerns of the local community and do not respect the environmental laws of Zimbabwe
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Mines and Minerals Act

Environmental Management Act

Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Miners Ravage the Land
[click to view]

The Herald Online New diamond mine for Chimanimani
[click to view]

Diamond chief accused of racism and attacks
[click to view]

(1) Interview with DTZ-OZGEO director Ismail Shillaev:
[click to view]

Zimbabwe’s Desperate

The Zimbabwean, Russians mine diamonds on Bennetts farm
[click to view]

Zimbabwe: Tension Brewing Over Chimanimani Diamonds
[click to view]

Other comments:DTZ OZGEO is the same company mining gold in Penhalonga, about 15 KM north of Mutare where it has caused an outcry due to its environmentally catastrophic open cast mining. The company has changed the course of Mutare River over ten times in the past 5 years.
Meta information
Contributor:Farai Maguwu
Last update08/04/2014
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