Brick Moulders In Hwange are reportedly causing serious land degradation as they are said to be mining clay soil in various areas around the mining town, Mining Zimbabwe reports. The brick moulders reportedly steal coal dust from Hwange Colliery Company mine sites and they mix it with clay soil they are illegally mining from part of the mining town to make the bricks which according to the publication can be sold at $0.10 per brick.
According to the publication, many people have resorted to brick moulding for a living and this has put areas around Don Bosco Technical College, Truck Stop and Empumalanga where the Hwange Local Board (HLB) treatment plant is under serious threat.
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Speaking about the threat, Greater Whange Residents Trust coordinator Mr Fidelis Chima said:
We are greatly disturbed by the increasing illegal brick moulding activities at Empumalanga treatment plant, Don Bosco and behind Truck Stop. This is causing alarming rates of land degradation and what is more disturbing is that some councillors, council officials and other senior people are also involved. Truck Stop is notorious for criminal activity and we fear that can happen in Empumalanga. Council should come up with a land rehabilitation plan and regulate brick moulding
Environmental Management Agency reportedly also inspected the area and said they were monitoring the situation and have already approached the local authority to ensure they have a plan to rehabilitate the affected areas according to EMA’s Mrs Chipo Mpofu Zuze who said:
We have done inspections and issued out tickets to some of them because they had no authority to dig around and mould bricks. They should have an environmental management plan from the local authority. Some approached EMA saying they had no other source of income and they have regularised their activities.
We approached Hwange Local Board, Hwange Rural District Council and Hwange Colliery Company ordering them to act and rehabilitate the land or designate land for such activities. The RDC has designated some land and seven groups of villagers each with around 35 households have received permits and are moulding bricks legally
When contacted for comment by the publication, Hwange Municipality said they were working on resolving the issue:
The local authority is currently in the process of amending its by-laws which will enable it to come up with stringent regulations. Allegations about council officials and councillors being involved in clay soil poaching and brick moulding activities haven’t come to our attention. If these allegations are true, such actions are unfortunate and regrettable as we expect council officials to be on the lead against such activities.
More: Mining Zimbabwe