- October 21, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
The total elimination of mercury pollution in the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASGM) is not as simple as legally restructuring and banning the use of mercury, Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) CEO Mr. Wellington Takavarasha has said.
Rudairo Dickson Mapuranga
Speaking at the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development’s Minamata ratification sensitisation workshop in Kadoma yesterday the ZMF CEO said it was not easy to completely do away with the use of mercury in the gold mining sector.
He said that it was of significance for the government to invest in making sure that reliable and alternative methods to mercury for gold extraction by small-scale miners that will also make their operations feasible.
“Total elimination of mercury pollution is not as simple as legally restructuring and banning the use of mercury. The miners should be made aware of the reliable alternatives that will still make their operations viable and easily accessible.” Takavarasha said.
Zimbabwe is ranked in the top 10 countries using Mercury in the world with the informal gold mining sector consuming more than 100-150 tonnes, According to Takavarasha ASGM sector in Zimbabwe use mercury because it is easily accessible USD 10 per 25ml, it’s very independent-one person can use it and miners are not aware of the risks.
An estimate of 1, 5 million artisanal and small-scale miners operate in Zimbabwe with more joining because mining is the only recourse in a collapsing economy. 35 000 miners are registered in terms of the Mines and Minerals Act 21:05 this means to say only 16 percent of artisanal and small-scale miners in Zimbabwe.
ASGM activities in the country largely take place on informal sites with 84 percent operating illegally 30 percent of these being women and children. 35 000 registered in terms of the Mines and Minerals Act Cap 21;05 -16% formal miners
Stakeholders have estimated that about 66 tonnes-maximum(peak)-Minimum 22 tonnes of mercury is being utilized in the formal gold mining sector, 1-3 grams of mercury is lost to the environment for every gram of gold produced, Official entry of Hg-Only one company KB Davies given licence by EMA.
Despite operating informally the ASGM sector in Zimbabwe has contributed substantially to the country’s sole gold buyer and exporter Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) accounting for more than 60 percent of the total gold output from the period 2017 to current.