BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
THE Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has shut down a Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)-owned gold mine in Beatrice over reports of cyanide leakage at the site.
EMA ordered the closure of Joyce Mine at the weekend following the death of 18 cattle from a nearby farm.
There were reports that the beasts had drunk water with cyanide residue.
The mine was also fined $60 000 for discharging hazardous chemicals into the environment.
EMA Mashonaland East provincial spokesperson Astas Mabwe confirmed the mine closure, adding that operations would resume after all the required environmental preservation measures were in place.
“We went to Joyce Mine, in Beatrice, Seke district, on Saturday, February 6, after we got the news that 18 cattle from a nearby farm had died of cyanide poisoning. We did an inspection at the mine and realised that at their bore mill site, effluent was contaminating the environment. We also found out that their slime dam was also discharging water into the environment and into the pastures,” he said.
“We issued the mine with a ticket of $60 000 as a fine for polluting the environment. We wrote an order to cease the operations of the mine until they come up with a management plan or rehabilitation plan, both for their slimes dam, and their safety trench from a certified engineer.”
A sodium cyanide solution is commonly used to leach gold from ore through a process called cyanidation.
Accidental spills of cyanide solutions into rivers and streams have resulted in massive deaths of fish and other aquatic biota. The chemicals are also harmful to livestock and humans.
Follow Jairos on Twitter @jairossaunyama