By Tafadzwa Muranganwa
Due to the ongoing artisanal mining menace happening in Penhalonga where unemployed youths are risking their lives to scrounge for gold, the legislator for the area is seeking relief from the government to formalise this mining sector.
Mutasa South MP Regai Tsunga spoke to Radio VOP on how dire the situation is in his constituency with regards to the illegal mining activities which have even led to some artisanal miners losing their lives and he proffered some solutions to curb it.
“We have a serious situation here where young people are risking their lives as they mine gold illegally to extricate themselves from poverty.
“Last month, a man fell to death in a mine shaft and artisanal mining halted for a few days but operations have since resumed .
A few years ago , an artisanal miner Timothy Mandiyeuza from Honde Valley was retrieved dead from a 150meters deep shaft with suspicions that he could have fallen to death while mining the precious metal.
In Premier area in the Mutasa South constituency, artisanal miners have been at loggerheads with resettled farmers there as they do not spare any land that has rich gold deposits, according to one A1 farmer.
“ Here in Premier we have been having showdowns with illegal miners as they dig up for gold even on our own piece of land without seeking permission .
“While some come in the middle of the night ,others brazenly mine during the day and you will not even dare them because they are very ruthless,” said the farmer who only identified himself as Lloyd.
The area’s legislator Regai Tsunga spoke at length on the raft of measures that can be put in place to curb this .
He concurs with some stakeholders who have called for abandoning criminalising artisanal mining
“Regulate rather than prohibit Artisanal mining ,” Tsunga said.
One of the major contention in the mining sector has been on how mining claims are parcelled out to some individuals who in turn don’t mine which the Mutasa South MP said needs to be revised.
“Facilitate issuance of mining claims to organised groups ,” the MDC Alliance legislator said.
According to Tsunga, resources and machinery should be availed to artisanal miners so that they can increase gold output.
Due to the worsening economy, many young people have turned to illegal mining and in February this year 26 illegal miners lost their lives in Kadoma after being trapped in shafts by flood-waters