Kasukuwere raps Russian gold miner

MUTARE - Saviour Kasukuwere, the minister of Environment, Water and Climate, has blasted Mutare-based gold miner DTZ-OZGEO for causing environmental degradation in its mining activities along Mutare River.

Speaking at a World Wetland Day commemoration in Domborutinhira on Monday, Kasukuwere expressed shock at the state of the river in the Penhalonga area, owing to the company’s activities which has forced the river off its natural course, apart from the three dams that have been created.

“As government we are not forbidding extraction of minerals but we don’t mine in rivers,” Kasukuwere said.
“Here in Penhalonga, new rivers have been created. Where are the original rivers?”

DTZ-OZGEO, jointly owned by Development Trust of Zimbabwe and Russian company, OZGEO extracts gold along Mutare River but has not been operating since last October when the ministries of Mines and Mining Development and Environment, Water and Climate in October jointly directed, through the Environmental Management Agency, mining firms to cease operations along rivers following massive environmental degradation along Mazoe River.

The company in December claimed it had lost revenue of nearly $1 million over the suspension of their operations.

Over 500 employees have also been affected by the government directive.

DTZ-OZGEO chief executive officer Ismail and his public relations manager Clara Ngwenya both declined to comment.

But this paper is reliably informed they were operating using a special mining grant which allowed them to mine along river beds, albeit with special conditions.

Kasukuwere called for sustainable utilisation of natural resources, drawing parallels with elephant poaching in Matabeleland where, he said poachers were allegedly paid $500 for an elephant that could easily fetch over $20 000.

Kasukuwere commended the Domborutinhira community for preserving and utilising their wetland, albeit cautioning that their capacity is not without bounds.

“Conversion of wetlands for agriculture land will lead to the loss of vital wetland ecosystem services,” he said. “Intensive agricultural activities often lead to increased loads of pollutants such as pesticides, fertilisers, antibiotics and disinfectants in wetlands.

“Not only do these affect their ecological character, they also impact on human health and the quality of drinking water supplied by wetlands. We need to ensure that there is balance between agricultural production and wetland utilisation and protection.”

Kasukuwere said the wetland was in the same league with Maturure Wetland in Masvingo and Songore Wetland in Murehwa.

They were “flourishing examples of wetland protection and sustainable utilisation through agriculture.”
Local Senator Mike Nyambuya urged locals to preserve their environment.

“If we destroy the environment, we will have done a disservice to our children,” he said.

“Let’s preserve and not destroy our environment,” the former Manicaland governor said.

Trevor Saruwaka, Member of Parliament for Mutasa South, also expressed satisfaction at how the wetland is being managed to benefit 120 families, saying it was not being done along political lines.

Comments (7)

Haa minister Kasukuwere maita basa zvenyu maRussians akauraya mutare river as i write one their river diversion has caused floods at Penhalonga shopping center. They must stop this madness completely

Pondaihenyumwanawevhu - 5 February 2014

I have relatives with houses directly opposit this sham Russian Mine along the river. Both the road separating the river and the houses across are in great danger of being swallowed. Its the height of unreasonableness behabiour by these Russians and their zanu pf side kicks

mafikizolo - 5 February 2014

a change . here is one Zimbabwean talking sense. Eventually its not only the environmental impact but people. All the chemicals used in the riverine mining eventually find their way into the ground water drinking source with all the adverse health consequences. Keep those Russians in Moscow

John Moyo - 5 February 2014

Good job Minister could you check the alleged mining by Chinese companies in precious game parks

enock sebele - 5 February 2014

Clearly we have to remember that extractive assets are non-renewable as did the Arabs in the70s with the pumping of crude oil. We have only a fixed volume of all that is in the soil and we let other nationals exploit that wealth - shame on us as Zimboz. We are not afforded similar access in Russia or China not even for a tuck shop !! so what is in it for us fellow Zimbabweans ? Toramba tichipembedza potential yega here ?????

Dhliwayo - 5 February 2014

Another wetland was destroyed by the Chinese apo next to National Sports Stadium.

Pringo - 6 February 2014

Guyz, This Russian company is the best mining company in Zim in terms of environmental safety. They divert te river to avoid its contamination with mud. They return the river to its original bed after mining is completed, and rehabilitate all the land to agricultural auality. No other company does this. It is illegal panners who bring damage and pollute the river. The minister is just lying to the public or at list ignorant of the the matter

Nikita - 8 April 2014

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