Gold panning wrecks area: MP

MP for Mudzi South, Eric Navaya, has bemoaned the environmental degradation brought about by an increase in gold panning in his constituency, a situation that has proved difficult to address.

“There are many gold deposits in my constituency. From Mutondo Township to Makaha down to Rwenya, gold panners are seen digging up the ground in search of the yellow mineral. There are holes as shallow as two metres to tunnels running up to eight metres long underground as the panners follow up the gold belts,” said Navaya.

He said the level of environmental degradation was worrying.

“Sometimes I postpone important meetings organised to update the people on matters to do with the development of my constituency because most of them are out scouting for gold. Students from Makaha, Katsande, Mapombo, Nyamande, Chikwizo and Gozi secondary schools dodge lessons to go and search for gold and the pass rate in these schools has plummeted,” he added.

The gullies created by panning are creating a safety hazard in the local area, Makaha the most affected by the activities. Here, small-scale registered miners have set up equipment to mine gold at the heart of the township. Gold buyers, especially foreigners from China and Nigeria, travel from Harare to buy the precious metal.

Environmental degradation is so widespread that in cases of heavy rain, many houses stand the risk of collapse and there is a likelihood of serious flooding. The MP also bemoaned the pollution in the rivers and the possible eventuality of the rivers drying up due to siltation.

Economic hardships were the driving force behind the panning, the MP said, adding that efforts by the police to flush out illegal miners from the area were proving futile.

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