Govt bans river bank mining

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HARARE — The government has banned alluvial mining within 200m of river banks, up from 20m to avoid environmental degradation, effectively banning gold panning, an official notice showed on Friday.

“Alluvial mining shall not take place on land within 200 metres of the naturally defined banks or land within 200m of the highest flood level of any body of water conserved in natural or artificially constructed water storage work or stream; or any bed or banks or course of any river or stream; or land within 200m from any wetland,” a notice in the Government Gazette reads.

Miners who spoke to The Source said effectively the new measure bars alluvial mining and activities of artisanal miners given that mineral deposits are usually found within 100m of the river banks.

“No person shall, notwithstanding that they are in possession of a special grant, conduct alluvial mining activities or prospecting of alluvial deposit without an environmental impact assessment report and certificate issued by the agency in terms of section 100 of the Act,” the notice read.

The new law also prohibits use of mechanical equipment or motor powered equipment in alluvial mining and orders miners to ensure progressive rehabilitation of works undertaken, restoration of mined areas, ensure pollution abatement, erosion and siltation control, revegetation of mined areas and monitoring of water quality and quantity.

The State also prohibited the use of mercury in mining in accordance with The Minamata Convention — a United Nations pact designed to limit mercury use and emissions internationally, which Zimbabwe signed up to early this year.

It also banned the use of cyanide following the widely publicised poisoning of over 100 elephants at the Hwange National Park.

— The Source