Hwange residents have clashed with a Chinese company, Mutagech Mine, which they accuse of starting operations without consulting the community.
Mutagech Mine has embarked on a coal-mining project.
In the Dinde area of Hwange, villagers have also been fighting a Chinese coal-mining project which is likely to displace them.
Greater Hwange Residents Trust co-ordinator Fedelis Chima Monday told NewsDay that the company was given a special mining grant several years ago, but decided to resume mining activities this year without consulting them. Chima said:
The company was given a special grant by the government about 10 years ago. The problem started this year when it wanted to resume mining operations. During the environmental impact assessment process, it only consulted a section of traditional leaders, leaving out a lot of other people.
We are not happy about this. It is using COVID-19 as a scapegoat.
We want the country to provide us with its project description so that we know about their environmental plans.
Ward 20 councillor Ishmael Kwidini said the mining initiative is going to affect a lot of villagers, therefore, it is difficult to co-exist with such a venture.
Besides displacement, the venture is likely to affect grazing land and fields.
Consulted leaders were reportedly given bicycles as incentives to support the venture.
Mutagech project manager Donald Nkosana the consultation process was done adding that they have not yet received complaints.
He also said they are at the project phase.