Illegal gold miners in Chimanimani are responsible for the destruction of commercial forest areas as well as the environment, siltation of rivers and contamination of water with dangerous chemicals thus posing a health hazard to people.
Security forces have from time to time carried out raids in different parts of the district but the illegal miners are unperturbed. Manicaland police spokesperson Inspector Tavhiringwa Kakohwa had this to say:
We have been carrying out raids in different parts of Chimanimani and the Eastern Highlands at large where artisanal miners operate illegally. Yes, there has been resistance since we always see the artisanal miners returning to the same areas.
However, we will keep on raiding those areas until sanity prevails. We want people to do the right thing and formalise their operations for the benefit of the economy.
An example of the environmental degradation is clear in Nyabamba River near Roscommon Estate, which is now bright red due to soil and chemical residue contained in the waste after the panning processes.