By Bustop TV
Darwendale, a peri-urban settlement on the outskirts of Norton might be in for a major development with potential to rack in billions for the country but its fishing community is not too keen.
Multi-billion dollar Great Dyke Investments (GDI) a giant mining company granted exclusive rights to mine along the great dyke is yet to start its core activities but fishermen and fish vendors who survive on Darwendale Dam feel the development might just mean the end of their means of survival.
Already the mine, whose ownership structure is a conglomeration of politically connected individuals such as businessman Kudakwashe Tagwireyi and government aligned Russian corporates, has finished pegging areas it will work on.
It has started underground blasting, creating tunnels for operation and some of the blasts are being felt on the ground, with houses developing cracks.
“We were told that the mine does not affect us as it is going underground but we fear one day we might be found dead after falling inside its pit,” said Mrs. Tichaungana a fish vendor.
“We survive on fishing, there is Darwendale Dam from which we fish and sell the fish in and around here.
Tichaungana said they feared that the waste might disrupt the dam’s ecosystem and affect their livelihoods.
She added: “We fear that once their operations start they might deposit waste in there, they might stop us from fishing and we fear that our lives might be affected by this as that is our only source of livelihood.
“The waste might in the end affect even the quantity and quality of the fish we are used to getting for sale.”
A fisherman, Obey Berejena said he did not have much information on the mine’s operations but hoped it will not get to a point where their activities are disrupted.
Berejena said he had resigned himself to crossing the bridge when he gets to it.
He said: “We have not been told anything about their operations but we hope we will not be affected as this is the only thing keeping us alive.”
Already some farm owners have been displaced, losing millions in US dollar investments.
Some of those affected refused to express themselves for fear they might be targeted for speaking out.
Darwendale Dam has four syndicates of an average 15 fishermen operating the night and morning shifts.
Their sole source of money is the fish they get and sale.
37 year old Berejena has a family staying in nearby Norton, sends his children to school, pays bills and buys groceries out of proceeds from the dam in question.
According to the American Fisheries Society (AFS) mining can affect fish and acquatic resources through erosion and sedimentation and contamination of water with toxic chemicals.
‘This article was produced with the financial support of WAN-IFRA Media Freedom. Its contents are the sole responsibility of <BustopTV> and do not necessarily reflect the views of the WAN-IFRA Media Freedom,WAN-IFRA FR, or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.’