Takunda Maodza Manicaland Bureau Chief
OVER a 1 000 illegal gold miners have reportedly besieged the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) Rusitu estate in Chimanimani in a development described by a local legislator as worrying.
Chimanimani East legislator Cde Joshua Sacco told The Herald last week that the illegal miners had swarmed the estate.
He said there were approximately 1 500 illegal miners who were damaging the environment with impunity in search of the precious mineral.
Besides its flora and fauna, the attraction of many tourists, Chimanimani is rich in minerals, including diamonds.
“There are more than 1 500 illegal miners there and it is being done illegally,” said Cde Sacco. “We want things to be done in a planned way and that is my role (as local legislator). Let us formalise.”
Cde Sacco said there was an urgent need to ensure mining activities were regularised.
“We are working on formalising mining activities,” he said. “This is what we want to do so that they work in an environmentally friendly way. Let us formalise small-scale mining. The area had deaths and injuries recently.”
Cde Sacco said it was also important to ensure gold reached the Fidelity Printers, the sole buyer of the precious mineral in the country.
“One key area is to make sure gold goes through the formal channel. It must be sold to Fidelity. It is not being sold to Fidelity,” said Cde Sacco.
Cde Sacco at one moment tried to engage the illegal miners to educate them on the illegality of their activities and the damage they were causing the environment, but they turned rowdy.
Arda Rusitu is on prime land and plans were underway to revive macadamia nut production at the estate.
Macadamia production can earn the country millions in foreign currency through exports to countries like China.
Banana farming is also possible on the estate.