MUTARE – Mutoko Rural District Council is receiving only a dollar from every 1 000 kilograms of black granite sold, the council’s boss revealed to shocked delegates attending a mining indaba here yesterday.
Speaking at the Manicaland Alternative Mining Indaba, Mutoko’s CEO Peter Sigauke told delegates that what is worse is that his council does not have a weighbridge and thus cannot quantify the size of the black granites extracted from the area.
“We only get a paltry $1 per tonne for black granite which goes on to trade at about $1 800 per tonne, But even then, we do not have a way of verifying how much of it would have been extracted so that we can bill them the $15 for the 15 tonnes they would have taken as we do not have a weighbridge.
“…at the moment we are only using faith and hope that whatever we are receiving is appropriate, but there is no way of telling,” Sigauke said.
He said efforts to have a weighbridge suffered a stillbirth due to an unspecified tender failure.
“We have tried to push for the installation of a weighbridge in conjunction with Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe and National Railways of Zimbabwe.
“A tender was even advertised but there were some irregularities that were noted and it suffered a stillbirth. Up to now we don’t know when that will be installed,” Sigauke said.
The local authority boss said the situation was worsened by the fact that government classified black granite as a mineral and not a natural resource.
“When black granite was declared a mineral in 1990 it ended our access to royalties as all the money was now being taken by the ministry of Finance with nothing coming our way ever since.
“When we were getting royalties, we managed to build Mutoko High School and our council offices,” Sigauke said.
Mutoko north communities where the stone is mined have nothing to show for it but an environment that has been destroyed.
Agricultural land has been disfigured into deadly dungeons and dumping sites.
According to authorities lives of people and livestock have been lost in the quarry pits left after the extraction of the giant black granites.
Locals who are also engaged as employees have also been killed in blasting operations.