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Bulawayo council, police joint operation nets 200 panners at supply dams

by Staff reporter
12 Feb 2023 at 02:19hrs | Views
At least 201 illegal gold panners were arrested in 2022 during a joint operation by police and city rangers to curb the vice around the city's water supply dams.

This is contained in the Bulawayo City Council's latest minutes.

"Joint patrols were conducted at the catchment areas by Rangers and Zimbabwe Republic Police.

"During these patrols, a total of 140 hand tools and 3 detector machines were confiscated and handed over to Esigodini (ZRP) as an exhibit.

"Twenty (20) illegal gold panners were handed over to Esigodini courts for prosecution.

"A total of 201 illegal gold panners were arrested throughout the year 2022."

By conducting illegal mining activities near the city's water catchment areas, the panners could damage water pipes and cause distribution challenges in a city known for its perennial water woes.

Panning also leads to siltation and in worse scenarios, exposes people to contaminated water from toxic chemicals such as mercury and cyanide.

Bulawayo's supply dams include Umzingwane, Mtshabezi, Inyankuni, Insiza, Upper Ncema, and Lower Ncema.

Commenting on the arrest of the panners, environmentalist Tafadzwa Chirume said it was essential to curb illegal mining activities as they damage the environment and pose a danger to livelihoods.

"The job done by the council is highly commendable," he said.

"Illegal mining activities cause environmental challenges such as water pollution, deforestation, poor soil fertility, and limited access to land for agricultural productivity.

"Mining near critical water bodies may lead to water contamination and this means the water needs to be treated again, adding extra costs to authorities."

Source - ZimLive