Mer­cury a time bomb, says Shamu

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Mashonaland Central & West News - Heather Charema in KADOMA

THE in­creased use of mer­cury by thou­sands of ar­ti­sanal min­ers in Mashona­land West Prov­ince with­out proper dis­posal is pos­ing a se­ri­ous risk of poi­son­ing main wa­ter bod­ies, Min­is­ter of State for Mashona­land West Prov­ince Cde Web­ster Shamu has said.

Cde Shamu said il­le­gal min­ers in Kadoma, who were us­ing mer­cury were putting peo­ple’s lives at risk by poi­son­ing the ma­jor dams.

“In Kadoma, there are il­le­gal min­ers who are us­ing mer­cury. This is a big risk be­cause the mer­cury may be dis­charged in our ma­jor wa­ter bod­ies like Kariba and Mazvikadei dams,

“This means that the wa­ter bod­ies will be con­tam­i­nated, af­fect­ing fish farm­ing in Kariba and Mazvikadei, caus­ing all those who will eat the fish from these con­tam­i­nated sources to give birth to de­formed chil­dren,” he said.

He said all the il­le­gal min­ers had to be stopped im­me­di­ately, to­gether with those who were mould­ing bricks on the out­skirts of the town.

“These min­ers need to be stopped and the is­sue of mer­cury use also needs to be looked into. We want to make sure that the liveli­hood of peo­ple in this prov­ince is safe,

“Those brick mould­ing com­pa­nies and those in il­le­gal brick mould­ing on the out­skirts of the town also need to be re­moved be­cause they are caus­ing land degra­da­tion in our prov­ince,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port is­sued by the En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Agency (EMA) on Mashona­land West Prov­ince, in­cep­tion on mer­cury ini­tial as­sess­ment project in March this year, mer­cury was widely used in gold re­cov­ery by smallscale min­ers in Mashona­land West.

“In Zim­babwe, mer­cury is widely used in gold re­cov­ery by small-scale min­ers.

“In Mashona­land West Prov­ince, this is so ram­pant in min­ing hotspot ar­eas like Chikuti, Chakari, Pick­stone, Gadzema, Bat­tle­fields and Etina among many oth­ers,” EMA stated.

EMA also stated that their ap­proach was to ed­u­cate min­ers and the na­tion in gen­eral on the dis­posal and han­dling of mer­cury.

“As EMA, our ap­proach to curb mer­cury abuse and pol­lu­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment has been two fold, through en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion and li­cens­ing on the dis­posal and han­dling of mer­cury,” read the re­port.

EMA urged min­ers and other mer­cury users to adopt and do­mes­ti­cate ef­forts be­ing made by the agency in curb­ing mer­cury con­tam­i­na­tion and pol­lu­tion.

“We con­tin­u­ously urge min­ers and other mer­cury users to adopt and do­mes­ti­cate ef­forts be­ing made by the agency in curb­ing mer­cury con­tam­i­na­tion and pol­lu­tion,” it said

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