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EMA commends small scale-miners in Mangwe

by Sukulwenkosi Dube
17 Apr 2016 at 03:26hrs | Views
THE Environmental Management Authority has commended small scale-miners operating in Mangwe District for making efforts to protect the environment in their mining activities.

In an interview during a tour of mining areas in Ingwizi area by EMA board members and officials recently, board member Mr Andrew Mlalazi who was also chairperson of the inspecting team said they expected community members to carry out livelihood sustaining activities in a manner that was not harmful to the environment.

"We are impressed with progress that has been made by miners. They have started erecting perimeter fences around their mining areas, they are backfilling mining pits that are no longer in use and they have started constructing ablution facilities.

"We are now focusing on land management and wealth generation. By this we are 100 percent behind attaining economic growth through exploiting our natural resources such as minerals, grazing areas and farming land but these activities have to carried out in an environment friendly manner," he said.

Mr Mlalazi said in December last year his team visited mining and farming sites in Mangwe where they tasked operators to maintain environment friendly operations. He said illegal miners had flooded the place and their operations were detrimental to the environment. Mr Mlalazi said at the time mining sites did not have toilets, miners were leaving abandoned pits open thereby endangering people and animals while their mining areas were not secured.

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He said small-scale miners had formed co-operatives and were now conducting environment friendly activities.

He said some co-operatives were, however, still lagging behind. Speaking to small-scale miners, Mr Felix Moyo who is also on the EMA board encouraged miners to adhere to environmental guidelines.

"As you can see, in the places where you have back filled abandoned mining pits, which is to close them, there is vegetation which is sprouting there once again. If you do not have ablution facilities in your mining areas it will mean that you will resort to using the bush. "If your mining areas are not secured with a fence it will pose as a threat to people and your livestock as they might fall into the pits," he said.

Small-scale miners who are operating in the district said they were facing challenges in maximising production due to shortage of mining equipment.

Home Affairs Deputy Minister who is also Mangwe constituency National House of Assembly Member Obedingwa Mguni said small-scale miners in the district must form cooperatives in order to get assistance from the Government.

He said while activities of illegal gold panners had gone down, there were still cases of miners who were fighting over claims.

"We are working towards empowering locally based small-scale miners and organising them for professional mining. Law enforcement agents are also making efforts to curb illegal mining activities in the district as they are the major cause of environmental degradation," he said.

Source - Sunday News