NewsDay (Zimbabwe)

Byo-Gwanda Highway under threat from artisinal mining activity


JUST 8km from Gwanda town towards Bulawayo, artisanal miners are digging under the main tarred road, creating human rights challenges and infrastruc­tural risk.

A Matabelela­nd Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) assessment of the area shows that artisanal miners have begun digging under the busy road and parts of the railway line are also being dug.

Bulawayo-Gwanda Road is part of the Beitbridge­Victoria

Falls Highway and it is said to be one of the busiest roads in Zimbabwe.

The road is critical for social and economic developmen­t of Zimbabwe.

In the National Developmen­t Strategy 1 (NDS1), Zimbabwe is expecting the mining and quarrying industry to contribute 8% of the gross domestic product by year 2025 and intends to formulate and implement an Artisanal Small-Scale Gold Mining Policy to facilitate enhanced exploitati­on of gold deposits.

MIHR has engaged the responsibl­e environmen­tal authoritie­s and alerted them about the situation and has also called for urgent action to police and manage the situation.

Meanwhile, MIHR will continue to monitor the situation in order to protect the rights of the Insindi villagers who live close to where these events are happening.

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