120 hectares of mining land reclaimed in Shamva

By Tapiwa Machemedze

120 hectares of land destroyed through artisanal and alluvial mining have been reclaimed in Shamva with communities living along Mazowe River commending the efforts being made in the restoration of arable and grazing land. 

The Environmental Management Agency is fighting back to reverse the environmental degradation after years of arbitrary destruction of the Mazowe River and its surrounding environs through artisanal and alluvial mining in Mashonaland Central Province.

In Shamva, communities have welcomed the opening up of new pastures and safe drinking water.

“We had a problem with our cattle falling into pits and even people were falling so the digging of the land reclamation is of benefit to us. This program has also improved our water supply as the river was clogged,” noted a community member.

Five companies were engaged by EMA and are at various stages of completing rehabilitation works in Musawu and Chipoli areas.

We are rehabilitating land destroyed by artisanal miners along Mazowe River and nearby fields, so far we have rehabilitated 25 hectares, planted bananas mangoes and exotic gum trees, Cyprus and so forth. We are closing pits and at the same time after that we are planting trees. So far we have planted 2 000 bananas and we have covered 20 hectares of land,” said Freeman Moyo, Byman Investments Manager.

EMA Provincial Environment and Publicity Officer Maxwell Mupotsa said Shamva is one of the pilot projects on land reclamation following a ban on alluvial gold mining in 2020.

Also, commemorating World Environment Day which is running under theme ; ‘Only One Earth, Mining Sustainably in Harmony with Nature,’ we are saying we want to protect aquatic life against mercury that has been put into the ecosystem and pits that have been put by illegal alluvial miners, so far we are happy with progress that has been made by these companies that are rehabilitating and revegetating the ecosystem. This also puts a mark on the targets for NDS1,” he said.

In addition to opening up arable land, communities will benefit from consumption and selling of fruit trees on the planted land.

Contracted companies are also assisting the communities with drilling of boreholes and construction of roads.