Chinese leave trail of destruction in Mat South

via Chinese leave trail of destruction in Mat South – Southern Eye by Albert Ncube

ALTHOUGH the Environment, Water and Climate ministry has ordered the cessation of alluvial mining operations by Chinese companies in Matabeleland South following massive land degradation along major rivers in Insiza and Umzingwane districts, agricultural experts and villagers say the damage has already been done.

Tanzanite Mining operated at Killarner Mine in Phikelela village in Insiza South along the Insiza River from May this year while Yuan Hang Corporation operated at Special Grant 5780 Mine at Hlangano Ranch in Mbalabala along the Umzingwane River from August, without environmental accreditation.

Digging within riverbeds and banks resulted in the siltation of rivers downstream of the mining operations. Johnson Langa, chairperson of the Phikelela Village Development Committee said the siltation of Insiza River would result in the shortage of water at the Silalatshani Irrigation Scheme.

“People’s lives would be affected because many people depend on irrigation for survival, but now because of siltation, water supplies to Silalatshani would be affected,” Langa said.

The Chinese conducted their mining operations 3km upstream of Malubamba Dam and the reservoir’s capacity has been compromised.

The 369 hectare Silalatshani Irrigation Scheme is one of the biggest and most productive irrigation schemes in Matabeleland South and is a source of income and subsistence for 853 families.

Umzingwane district agricultural extension officer Judia Ncube said the flow of the Umzingwane River that provides water to Potberry Irrigation Scheme has been compromised affecting almost 100 households who depend on farming. Yuan Hang entered the Umzingwane River at its confluence with Incema River and mined for gold within the riverbanks.

“There is not much taking place now because the flow of the river has been diverted. There is need for sand abstraction to restore the natural flow of the river,” Ncube said.

Matabeleland South provincial environmental manager Sithembisiwe Ndlovu said mining operations along Umzingwane River resulted in a 300m stretch of the riverbed being diverted while along the Insiza River 400m of the riverbed and bank were eroded.

Ndlovu added that the water quality was also compromised as affluent from these mines was allowed to flow back to the rivers thereby endangering the lives of people and animals who drink the water.

The Chinese also caused massive vegetation loss as equipment used included front-end loaders and excavators and villagers say indigenous trees that lay along their rivers would take years to be replaced.

“It will take us ages to replace the trees that have been destroyed here. If only the government could provide us with trees so we can replace those that have been cut down,” Langa added.

The Chinese were also using mercury in their mining operations and villagers fear it would impact on their health in the long run. Environmentalists confirmed mercury affects the body’s nervous system and may lead to pregnant mothers giving birth to deformed babies.



  • comment-avatar
    Mr Mixed Race 8 years ago

    Where is EMA? What they know is to concentrate on trivial things like litter bins in our vehicles.These mps are useless because they fail to stand for the rights of their voters.These Chinese are here to destroy the whole country without punishment.We have so far not seen any benefits from these destructive mines as stated by the Head of the state in his speech in Chinhoyi.What is the government going to do now to stop this uncontrolled mining activity countrywide?The indigenous small scale miners need proper control as well because they contribute to this siltation problem.The time for talking without action by the authorities,makes me very sick indeed.In my opinion these authorities have no political will to resolve this mess because they are also involved in this disaster.They act like they do not belong here like the Chinese who will just leave and go back to their country.These authorities must think about their children’s future NOT concentrate on short term riches.TRY TO USE YOUR COMMON SENSE MPS FOR A CHANGE TO RESCURE YOUR MOTHERLAND FROM TOTAL DESTRUCTION.

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      Peter tosh 8 years ago

      You have laid it out clear but really our politicians don’t care to preserve our country. I’m wondering what is EMA is doing about it.

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    matebele 8 years ago

    30m from the river is too, too short, . Chinese seem to have no respect for us, our future generation, the same scenario that our forfathers were faced with the british colonialist.They know very well tgat mining chemicals are dangerous to the present and future generation but Minerals, our minerasls are more impotant to thrm than us. Alluvial mining if any kind must be left to locals and INVESTORS shuld do rift and other high capital adventures. This is what makes them an INVESTOR. This is stealing from us. What investment is involved in this. What benefut is gvt getting from this? except environmental , and human destruction . ? Should our farming programs fail because of this . Farming is continuous and has clear benefit to both gvt and the people.

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    Tjingababili 8 years ago


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    Mena Bona 8 years ago

    Look East. You dumb stupid governement. Mugabe would give the Zimbabweans as slaves to the Chinese if they could give him a pill that would garrentee he would live for another ten years. A disgrace to Zimbabwe and humanity.

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    The Chinese have no love for Zimbabwe. They simply do NOT care. All those who love and cherish this land have either been kicked out or have fled to greener pastures. Common sense? there is none of that in our government!

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    MUKAKANYA 8 years ago


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    Parangeta 8 years ago

    I believe there was a Great Conspiracy in 1980!
    I believe that Ian Smith and Margaret Thatcher chose Robert Mugarbage, for one reason – so that they could be guaranteed Zimbabwe would fail. They wanted to make sure Zimbabwe would be a disaster, and the only one capable opf that was this old fool, Mugarbage.
    So, after all the hullabaloo, whitey has won, Zimbabwe is a mess and Smith’s choice, Mugarbage, did it single handedly. He deserves an OBE once again!