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.