Govt sets aside 3.2mln hectares for affected river bed gold claims
HARARE – Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa says Government has set aside 3,2 million hectares of land with gold claims to re-allocate to those whose claims were affected by the ban on river bed mining.
Government in 2014 banned alluvial mining within 200 meters of river banks, up from 20 meters to avoid environmental degradation. The law also prohibited use of mechanical equipment or motor powered equipment in alluvial mining and ordered miners to ensure progressive rehabilitation of works undertaken, restoration of mined areas, ensure pollution abatement, erosion and siltation control, re-vegetation of mined areas and monitoring of water quality and quantity.
However, according to the Minister, a few people and companies affected have shown interest towards the claims particularly in the Gache-Gache area in Kariba where several claims were affected.
“We have set aside 3.2 million hectares for gold resource to be allocated to those affected by the Gache-Gache operations,” he said.
Government in June laid claim to gold deposits on the banks of Gache-Gache River in Kariba and elbowed out a contractor who discovered the precious metal while extracting sand for construction work at Kariba South Power Station.
Minister Chidhakwa said more than 200 claims were affected but Government has unlocked reserved areas for re-allocation.
The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company invested nearly $250 000 on the site to conduct large-scale mining at Gache-Gache but has since halted activity in order to comply with Environmental regulations.
Chidhakwa said ZCDC whose core mandate is diamond mining will upon recapitalization of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation transfer the operations to ZMDC which is the government’s gold mining entity.
ZMDC according to Minister Chidhakwa has the strongest balance sheet in terms of asset base and concessions compared to all mining companies in Zimbabwe, but is has failed the nation due to under performance