11 gold mining firms face ban

kasukuwere saviour

Cde Kasukuwere

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Eleven mining firms extracting gold along the Mazowe River in Mashonaland Central face a ban after it emerged that they are using chemicals with potential toxic effects and have been doing so without an environmental impact assessment certificate, posing serious health hazards.

It also emerged that their mining activities are not consistent with environmental regulations. The certificate is issued by the Environmental Management Agency.

This came out during a tour conducted by Environment, Water and Climate Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Mashonaland Central, Advocate Martin Dinha, local Members of Parliament and officials from EMA and other senior Government officials.

During a briefing to Minister Kasukuwere, Advocate Dinha, officials from EMA led by director general, Mrs Mutsa Chasi, local MP Cde Remigio Matangira and Zanu-PF provincial chairperson Cde Dickson Mafios complained about an apparent police inaction against the mining firms whom they accused of violating both health and environmental legal statute.

Mrs Chasi said the mining firms, most of which were Chinese-owned, were doing alluvial mining along Mazowe River banks after they were issued with special mining grants by the Mines and Mining Development Ministry and were using chemicals that had an adverse effect on communities.

She said the firms started mining without an Environment Impact Assessment Certificate as required by the law. Minister Kasukuwere said violation of the law was unacceptable notwithstanding the nationalities of those involved.

“That is unacceptable. This nation can not be destroyed under our watch. It would be wrong to handover this country to the next generation when it no longer has rivers and their tributaries. It does not matter where one comes from,” he said during the briefing.

In interview soon after the tour near Matepatepa, Minister Kasukuwere said he would discuss with his Cabinet colleagues to ensure that river bank mining is banned. “What I can tell you clearly is that they cannot mine in rivers. These are areas where human settlement survives on.

Farmers, animals and what we are seeing here where cyanide, mercury is being used and deposited into the water is unacceptable,” said Minister Kasukuwere.

“We are seeing our water bodies and rivers being destroyed in broad daylight. If an investor wants to mine, we have better places and not to go into rivers that feed on our urban centres.”

Minister Dinha said Government should make a policy directive stopping issuance of special mining grants on river banks as a matter of urgency.

“My urgent appeal is that there should be no special grants in all rivers. We have hills, vleis, mountains. They can mine in all these areas,” he said.

It also emerged that the firms would block the water course so as to secure crossing lines of either sides, or divert water flow thereby affecting down stream users.

It was noted that special grants were also being issued to tributaries of the river. Mrs Chasi said no rehabilitation work was being done when the firms complete extraction on a given area.

Officials from EMA complained about an apparent inaction by law enforcement agencies. Mrs Chasi gave an example that occurred last week where they arrested a company official found practising downstream mining but was released on the basis that he was not the owner of the mining firm.

She said there was a need to harmonise all laws that dealt with environment, water and mining to ensure adequate consultations among Government ministries and departments before special grants are issued.

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  • Cde Fide

    Cde Minister, they should stop their mining activities immediately and only resume when an environmental impact assessment is completed. Since you are now aware of the damage being done, it is your full responsibility to preserve our heritage and you are now fully accountable for any further damage or deaths which might occur under your watch. And where was the Governor and these high ranked officials when all this was happening? Writing reports and transferring blame I suppose. We need action now and not another day should pass without taking action to preserve the flora and fauna of our beloved Zimbabwe. We are watching you!!

  • s shumba

    Obert Mpofu legalised gold panning – so what do u expect now. It is now dog eat dog – do whatever u can to survive thereby destroying everything for the 3 pieces of silver (read gold)

    • Kevin

      Good boy Saviour. Now go do the same thing in the Gwanda. River pollution was reported before by NUST environmental professor. You are spot on on preserving the environment. Once polluted, it is very difficult and expensive to clean it.

  • Japana Hapana

    Our all weather friends! Indeed.taakuzviona nhasi? Bet 5 years down the line they still will be pouring cyanide down the river. the untouchables.

  • Gomo

    There are no surprises here. The Chinese based firms have the worst environmental negligence record in the world. Unfortunately those responsible for granting the permits and licensing do not consult experts who understand the dynamics of mining impacts on the environment.

    For instance I hear Advocate Martin Dinha saying “His urgent appeal is that there should be no special grants in all rivers. We have hills, vleis and mountains. They can mine in all these areas”. As a Dr of Philosophy in groundwater it pains me to hear the Advocate saying such a statement. What he doesn’t know is that there are groundwater resources surrounding these hills and vleis which will also be polluted and even rivers due to runoff. It is evident that reliance on groundwater is rising by each day in our country. Let me also highlight that the pollution sources is not only from processing chemicals but there is also Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) and dewatering effects.

    My advice to the Minister and Advocate is that they should consult experts who have a better understanding of these aspects. Even EMA doesn’t have these experts that is why the problem went this far unnoticed.

  • Gomo

    There are
    no surprises here. The Chinese based firms have the worst environmental
    negligence record in the world. Unfortunately those responsible for granting
    the permits and licensing do not consult experts who understand the dynamics of
    mining impacts on the environment.

    For
    instance now I hear advocate Martin Dinha saying “My urgent appeal is
    that there should be no special grants in all rivers. We have hills, vleis and
    mountains. They can mine in all these areas”. As a Dr of Philosophy in groundwater
    it pains me to hear the Mr Advocate saying such a statement. What he doesn’t
    know is that there are groundwater resources surrounding these hills and vleis
    which will also be polluted. . It is evident that reliance on groundwater is
    rising by each day in our country. Let me also highlight that the pollution
    sources is not only from processing chemicals but there is also Acid Mine
    Drainage (AMD) and dewatering effects.

    My advice to the Minister and Advocate
    is they should consult experts who have a better understanding on aspects. Even
    EMA doesn’t have these experts, which is why the impacts went this far unnoticed.

  • Progressive Zimbabwean

    Please, please Zimbabweans let us not waste time because this is our future at stake here. Mining activities of such a nature must be stopped immediately. Cabinet can deliberate while these people are off our rivers. They do not only endanger the lives of animals, our fauna and flora but also the lives of Zimbabweans. This will move back to their homes filthy rich leaving scars on our environment.

  • rinovava

    kasukuwere ndiwe uri patsime, we wait and watch for your needed actions so please dont be a useless tool in that ministry, its a tall order but we are zimbabwe and you represent the needs of many, keep it on and ……..

  • Cde Jairos Tapfuma

    Cde saviour kasukuwere’s appointment to this ministry was spot-on. We need a hands-on person to tackle this issue. Action is what is needed and it has to be drastic. People have to be disciplined. We can not afford to have people destroying the environment on the basis of looking for survival. Saka tose kana tiine nzara toparadza nyika handiti? Act on Kasukuwere, deal with the environmental problem. From there, deal with the local authorities, City of Harare for example for their failure to collect refuse.

  • YOWE78

    rova graft Kasukuwere

  • Mushandi Saka Toindepi

    Preservative measures should be taken quickly so that people can go back to their work. What we don’t know is that when investors are given these licenses the responsible authorities should monitor them before they start their businesses. Why letting them start and disturb them while operating. Make sure they comply with your policies before your so called operation murambatsvina. Lets create employment. Don’t be good in destroying.

  • patriot

    PLEASE comrade Minister do not let the Chinese companies operate on rivers again.mercury will cause birth defects for the next 100years.the chinese are here to loot to help the economy.this sector( river SGs)should be for local communities and indigenous people.the Chinese should open old mines and explore and open new mines.that will employ more people than the SGs.have you noticed they are bringing many Chinese workers .these people do the worst environmental demage than any human being on earth even in their country.we beg you mininister save us. your name will go down in history same as our President for caring for his people.you are our only hope thank you President RG Mugabe for appointing Minister Kasukuwere for this post. we are not anti Chinese but we care for our health.the same investment can be channelled to open real mines .