The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has closed six illegal mines in Matabeleland South as it intensifies its war against illegal mining activities in a bid to address land degradation.
Additionally, the environmental watchdog has ticketed 18 mines for environmental degradation and not complying with the law.
EMA national spokesperson Amkela Sidange told the Chronicle that between Monday and Wednesday last week, the parastatal conducted 300 inspections in several districts. She said:
We have issued about 18 tickets to those found on the wrong side of the law that includes those operating without an EIA, those who are operating in a manner that harms the environment. We have issued six environmental protection orders for the cessation of operations until operators formalise their operations through the EIA process.
We have done more than 300 inspections and we have also done what we call environmental audits. An Environmental audit is when we get to a place where there is a project and audit key environmental elements such as issues of land degradation, issues of whether operators have the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and all other things that concern the environment.
Sidange added that EMA is concerned over the use of dangerous chemicals by some illegal miners which are harmful to them.
She also bemoaned the degradation taking place at Nugget mine in Matobo district where law enforcement agents are finding it difficult to arrest illegal miners.