The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has expressed concern over the environmental damage being caused by artisanal mining, saying the gold detector has become the biggest threat to the ecosystem.
By Kovedzayi Takawira
This is despite the fact that small scale mining contributes significantly to the economic development of Zimbabwe, producing more than 60 percent of gold collected by Fidelity Printers.
Giving a presentation at the “Artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) Investment Conference: Building sustainable emerging mining business in Zimbabwe” the Acting Manager and Environmental impact Assessor at EMA, Mr Nelton Mangezi said the gold detector had become a threat to the Zimbabwean environment.
“The gold detector has destroyed our environment as it promotes the fly by night miners that just destroy the environment. These fly by night operators only think about the monetary value instead of life,” said Mangezi.
In areas like Matabeleland South and North where Cattle farming is the main source of income, the illegal miners often leave uncovered pits resulting in loss of livestock.
Parliament has added its voice in calling for the regulation of artisanal miners to reduce further damage to the environment and livelihoods of other land users.
A recent policy brief by Parliament says 200 to 500 square kilometers have been extensively damaged by artisanal miners while 155 km of Mazowe River, one of the major rivers in the country, had its life destroyed by alluvial mining.