|Villagers in the Marange area of Zimbabwe say they want the diamond mining companies back, reports Zimbabwe's Daily News. Following Zimbabwe Mines Minister Walter Chidakwa's February directive to diamond mining companies operating in Zimbabwe's Marange diamond fields to cease their operations, the area has reportedly been plagued by illegal artisanal miners invading the area in their hundreds.
Villagers say their lives had improved significantly in the past few years as the companies were contributing to community development, reports the news source.
"Life was much better with the diamond miners than now, where it has once again become free for all. Even the police are struggling to contain the deluge of illegal diggers who are also pillaging property," one villager said, as quoted by the news source.
During a recent tour of the diamond fields by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Indigenisation, they reportedly heard first-hand from the community that the mining companies had changed their lives for the better.
Mbada Diamonds was singled out for praise by members of the local community for its contributions to various community projects, and the government was asked to reconsider its decision to cancel the miners' licenses. "We look forward to Mbada's continued presence here, as the whole community is benefitting from their social responsibility projects," said Cuthbert Rungwe, the headmaster of the nearby St Noah College, as quoted by the news source.