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Illegal mining destroys Insiza district

by Staff reporter
14 Jul 2022 at 07:31hrs | Views
Illegal gold mining activities in Filabusi, Insiza district, are becoming a threat to infrastructure and the environment, which could affect the socio-economic development of the area.

Land degradation is said to have increased during the national lockdown period as little focus was given to environmental protection.

A study by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) revealed that illegal mining damaged a total of 11 163 hectares of land while degrading 1 555km of riverbank ecosystems in the country.

The illegal miners' activities are said to be damaging plantations, grazing areas, fields, urban areas, road, rail and electricity transmission servitudes and have become a threat to socio-economic development.

News crew recently observed pits along the Mbalabala-Masvingo Road and link roads to Epoch Mine.

Villagers fear that if not stopped, the mining activities might lead to the collapse of the roads when the rains come. Despite efforts by the Government to formalise and regulate unregistered mining operations, illegal gold mining activities have remained a major problem in Insiza district, leading to the destruction of the ecosystem in many areas endowed with the rich mineral resource.

Illegal mining activities have taken precedence over any other economic activity in gold-rich areas thereby undermining the protection of the environment.

EMA Matabeleland South provincial manager Mr Decent Ndlovu said there was a need to regularise metal detectors.

"Illegal mining is happening across the province and the panners who are using metal detectors are threatening roads and other infrastructure. We've always advocated that they be regulated by law.

"Those are the major sources of land degradation as illegal miners that use these metal detectors dig randomly in search of the gold. When they do that and start digging overnight, you'll be lucky to find a road intact," said Mr Ndlovu.

He called on various stakeholders to come together to help protect the environment.

"As you can see, this is a busy road that has been damaged by panners. EMA on its own can't go against these people. The only way we can do it is through the police who will be armed and can chase them away. You get there at times and you won't even find them. Sometimes you find them there and they run away, it's a cat and mouse situation. It's really disturbing because as they go about their activities, they'll be using chemicals that will have a serious bearing on the ecosystem and aquatic life. We're concerned and call on different stakeholders to help us flush them out," said Mr Ndlovu.

He said their major motivation is that they're using detectors. "They can even detect gold in your kitchen and start digging," said Mr Ndlovu. he said land degradation as a result of illegal mining activities is widespread in the province.

"It's a problem especially in Insiza, Umzingwane, Matobo and Gwanda districts. These are the hotspot districts of illegal mining activities. The Inyankuni area of Esigodini is also problematic as the illegal mining activities are threatening our water supply dams," he said.

Source - The Chronicle
More on: #Mining, #Illegal, #Insiza