The Kanyemba area
in Zimbabwe, where
the government is
alleged to have struck
up an unconfirmed deal
with a Chinese firm to
mine uranium
Harare, Zimbabwe — 20 May 2013 – The government of Zimbabwe is facing criticism for a number of what is being referred to as ‘secretive mining deals being made without any consultation with communities and other stakeholders. reports that this includes an unconfirmed deal with a Chinese firm to exploit the uranium resources in the Kanyemba area. Local media reports, quoting different sources, have said that the extraction of uranium is set to begin soon, after the Chinese were granted ‘special rights’ by the Mines Ministry.

China Uranium Corporation (CUC), already registered in Zimbabwe, is said to be partnering with Zimbabwe’s Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) on the project. It is understood that this same firm was granted a special explorative licence in 2009 and it is ready to begin full scale extraction soon.

The uranium site in Kanyemba has in recent years been the source of controversy, after Zimbabwe and Iran looked set to seal a deal on extracting the resource. In 2011 Zimbabwe earned the ire of Western nations, who accused the African country of supporting Iran’s nuclear programme, after a leaked UN report said Iran was to be granted exclusive access to Zimbabwe uranium in return for fuel.

The deal did not come to fruition, but the Chinese appear to have muscled in instead.

Efforts to contact the Mines Ministry for clarification have been fruitless. However, Farai Maguwu from the Centre for Natural Resource Governance said there are many “secretive, opaque deals taking place.”

“Obviously if there are activities taking place I don’t think the government is keen to make people aware, because that will create a crisis of expectation where people will start demanding to know where the revenues are going,” Maguwu told SW Radio Africa.

He claimed that “lots is happening in the extractive sector, whereby licenses are issued without consulting the communities, and the extraction begins.”

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