Cyanide kills 6 cattle

John Murwira Mashonaland West Correspondent
six head of cattle and two sheep in the Kasimure area of Hurungwe died of suspected cyanide poisoning after the deadly chemical spilled into the environment from a gold mine.

The incident occurred last week on Thursday and the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has collected and sent samples to the laboratory for tests.

Hurungwe acting district administrator Mr Edwin Gondwe confirmed the death of the cattle and sheep, saying investigations were still in progress to establish the cause of the deaths.

“We received information about the loss of six cattle and two sheep, which died after drinking water suspected to have been contaminated by cyanide which spilled from Endex Mine,” he said.

The mine has since been issued with a ticket of $1 000 for releasing dangerous substances into the environment, which has to be settled within seven days.

EMA Mashonaland West provincial manager Mrs Eunice Mutepfa said they were yet to get a determination on test conducted on the samples.

“We are still waiting for the outcome of tests on samples we sent to the laboratory after six cattle died in Hurungwe last week,” she said.

“We think it’s cyanide that spilled into the environment, but we need confirmation from the samples we sent.”

The results are expected today.

Another herd of 20 cattle died in 2016 from cyanide poisoning in Mashonaland West Province, which has been blamed on improper handling of the dangerous substance’s residue.

The chemical leakage mostly occurs during the rainy season when residue management infrastructure give in and discharge into the environment.

It is mostly used in recovering gold during mining operations.

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