Mutoko stone from Zimbabwe is sought after for its lustre. Quarrying has been happening here since the 1980s. Every day more than 60 trucks take granite for export.
Mining companies extract wealth from the mountain but they leave behind a trail of damaged roads and bridges, hazardous pollutants and dirty air. Those living near granite mines say companies are failing to restore the land after extraction. Open pits are left uncovered, endangering children and wildlife. Mineworkers speak of poor working conditions and poor pay.
50 Buja families in Nyamakope village have been told by a Chinese mining company that they will have to leave their homes and land. People in four other villages in the district fear they will also lose their ancestral lands.
Evelyn Kutyauripo, a paralegal with the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela), who has been rallying villagers in Mutoko to resist evictions, says local officials need to protect people.
“I blame the headmen and the councillors because they are working with the Chinese. They should stand with the community,” she says, adding that companies were taking from communities and not helping them develop. “They are not developing anything in the community."