- November 10, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
The Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development chaired by Honourable Edmond Mkaratigwa has tabled a work plan to conduct a study on how environmental degradation behaviours including the use of gold detectors have impacted the environment across the country.
Of late, concerns have been raised that the environment in most mining regions, particularly those where alluvial gold operations are being undertaken by both primary and secondary producers have been extensively damaged.
Responding to written questions from Mining Zimbabwe, Honourable Mkaratigwa said:
“We recently resolved to engage with the Portfolio Committee on the environment to identify areas of synergy and overlap.
“However, we have also been disturbed by Covid as we have on our work plan a scheduled visit to sampled areas throughout the country with regard to environmental degradation and mining.
“The committee decided to broaden the study so that it encompasses the use of detectors and any other environmental degrading behaviours in their broadness for the purpose of achieving sustainability.”
He said the report with findings and recommendations would be tabled and debated accordingly in Parliament.
Among other environmental hazards, small-scale gold miners across the country were using harmful substances such as mercury to process gold.
It is against this background that the government through the Institute of Mining Research at the University of Zimbabwe was seized with research to establish how best the country can eliminate mercury use in gold processing by small-scale miners.
At present, Zimbabwe is among many countries that are yet to ratify the Minamata Convention of 2013 which places a ban on the use of mercury given the hazards it poses to human life and the environment.
The country has over five million artisanal and small-scale scale miners dotted across the seven gold mining regions namely Matabeleland South, Midlands, Matabeleland North, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Masvingo and Manicaland.
Gold is one of Zimbabwe’s major foreign currency earners accounting for between 60% and 70% export receipts that come through the mining sector.