SHURUGWI-Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry Mangaliso Ndlovu has tasked the Midlands Provincial Joint Operation Command (JOC) to monitor Chinese miners in Shurugwi.
He said there are indications and allegations that the miners operating in the Boterekwa escarpment are flouting environmental laws which are resulting in severe land degradation.
He gave the task on Monday when he addressed the Government department heads in Shurugwi where he commissioned Environmental Management Agency (EMA) district administrative offices.
Ndlovu said mining companies found flouting environmental laws will be banned from operating.
The JOC comprises the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and Zimbabwe Airforce, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS), and the President’s Office.
“I want a task force made up of Minister of State for Midlands Larry Mavima, Midlands Provincial JOC, and EMA to visit Boterekwa escarpment to assess what is happening because there are some reports of companies which are flouting environmental laws which have resulted in high levels of land degradation.
“I want a full report this week. I was asked in Parliament about the issue and I failed to explain so we must get to the bottom of it. The scenic Boterekwa is now in a very bad state and the last time when we visited I said there must be strict compliance by miners but to my surprise, these mining companies are still operating outside the law.
“They must stop because we cannot continue promoting lawlessness. This is a very important issue that needs to be addressed because what is happening in Boterekwa is more harm than good and that should stop,” he said.
EMA Midlands Provincial Manager Benson Basera said the Boterekwa mining issue is a great cause of concern as the mining companies are not following proper mining procedures.
“This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed in time before the once beautiful Boterekwa is degraded. Most of the miners are operating outside the law and this should stop. Boterekwa is now known for abandoned pits that pose a danger to the surrounding communities,” he said.
Most of the miners are doing extract gold through leaching, a process where gold is removed from the ore by using cyanide, a poisonous liquid that destroys the environment, water bodies and aqua, and wildlife. The acidic water is released into the environment.
There is also the use of heavy mining equipment causing degradation and most of the pits are not closed after extracting minerals from them. – The Mirror