Mutasa South MP seeks remedies to artisanal mining menace in Penhalonga

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