China’s seemingly insatiable demand for iron ore has seen its geologists venture into areas where their mining plans are not always welcome 

Chief David Kavare of Orumana Village in the Kunene region had a message he wanted conveyed to the Namibian government: Tell the Chinese not to come back here, and send someone to fill in the huge holes they left behind that was injuring the cattle.

“Every day, we have to go look for cattle that fell into the holes they just left there,” said Kavare, pointing up the rugged, mopani-clad hills behind their village, some 40 kilometres south of regional capital Opuwo. “Sometimes we have to kill the cattle because they break their legs when they fall [in],” he said.

For people who depend on their cattle for survival in an incredibly harsh environment, this was a disaster – but no compensation was ever offered, in spite of many complaints to the regional councillors in Opuwo, Kavare’s assembled advisors added.

This feature was originally produced with a reporting grant in the Project’s FOCAC Themed Grants series of 2015. Click here to read more.