Penhalonga and Tsvingwe are found in Ward 21 of Mutasa South Constituency in Manicaland Province, Zimbabwe. Our area is endowed with gold deposits and fertile red agricultural soils. We have a population of over 20 000 people. King’s Daughter Mine (formerly Redwing Mine), owned by Metallon Gold, is the biggest gold mine in our area.
Since time immemorial, our community has survived through artisanal mining, iron smelting and agriculture (growing crops and raising livestock). Mining has impacted negatively on our environment and livelihoods. We have been effectively dispossessed of both our farming land and access to our minerals. We have been made into criminals on our own land. When we engage in mining we get arrested and charged for being ‘illegal miners’. We have even lost members of our community for alleged trespassing or for ‘illegal mining’. Our community is in distress. We are now a community of jobless poor people.
The small-, medium- and large-scale miners who have been licensed to extract our gold also destroy and pollute our environment. Scores of cattle have died after drinking water contaminated with cyanide from the river. The environmentally destructive methods of mining by the titleholders are a far cry from our time-honoured environmentally friendly and ecologically sustainable mining techniques.
This community protocol will be used to demand our right to land and minerals and to live in a clean environment. We will engage all relevant stakeholders in order to protect our environment, social life and community health. We seek to engage mining companies, government and its agencies, and everyone else involved in the mining process and value chain.
Our goal is a community that is free from destructive mining activities and whose interests and constitutional rights are protected and nurtured.