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Another resource curse? Black Granite from Mutoko, Zimbabwe

Granite rock has been mined by foreign companies, a curse more than a blessing. Resistance led by Dolorosa Mubvumbi of Budja Environmental Conservation Trust.


Mined in certain areas for over 24 years, the black granite of Mutoko has not yielded meaningful benefits for the community.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Another resource curse? Black Granite from Mutoko, Zimbabwe
State or province:Mashonaland East
Location of conflict:Mutoko
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Mineral ore exploration
Land acquisition conflicts
Waste privatisation conflicts / waste-picker access to waste
Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Specific commodities:Black Granite
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

In 2009 Mutoko District produced 121 000 metric tonnes of black granite which was estimated to be worth 12.1 million dollars. The Mutoko Rural District Council only received $18 000.

Project area:70000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:100000
Start of the conflict:1985
Company names or state enterprises:Natural Stone Export Company from Italy
Natural Stone Quarries from Italy
Manwick Granites from Italy
Natural Stone Matabu from Italy
Relevant government actors:Mines Ministry, Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Budja Environmental Conservation Trust, Mutoko Youth Development Association
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Genetic contamination, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Global warming, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Militarization and increased police presence
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
Under negotiation
Development of alternatives:Value addition of black granite in Mutoko to ensure that the local community benefits in terms of employment and also in terms of development
Give authority to the Mutoko Rural District
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:There is still a lot of activism needed before the Mutoko black granite issue is resolved. So far government has only played lip service without stopping the mining of the black ground. Need for tight legislation that deals with investor identification, contracts etc
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Environmental Management Act

Environmental Management Act

Mines and Minerals Act

Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Economic Approach, Tanyaradzwa Chigonda. Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa (Volume 12, No.3, 2010) (attached)

An Assessment Of The Benefits And Costs Of Black Granite Quarrying In Mutoko District, Zimbabwe: A Socio-Cultural, Biophysical And

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

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The curse of Mutoko’s black granite
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29 July 2011, Zim losing out on granite royalties, by Sifelani Tsiko (excellent report on the economics of granite exports - a extractive industry leaving no local benefit)
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The Standard, 24/12 2016, Granite mining has turned out to be more of a curse than a blessing for people in Mutoko in Mashonaland East province. It has brought about untold environmental degradation and social ills to the villagers who now find no benefit from the blasting of their mountains. BY TAWANDA TADERERA
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[2]Dolorosa Mubvumbi (Mashonaland East Province. Deceased
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The granite quarries of Zimbabwe, AFP
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Mutoko Black Granite Curse (ZELA and Action Aid)
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[1] The forgotten “ Black Diamond” of Mutoko
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By Terry Tinotenda Mutsvanga. The "Curse" of Black Granite in Mutoko is a documentary that exposes the negative impact of extraction mining in Zimbabwe with special emphasis on Mutoko.
[click to view]

Other documents

Filmmaker Terry Mutsvanga produced a documentary titled The curse of black granite in Mutoko.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Farai Maguwu
Last update22/01/2017
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