IMPACT OF ARTISANAL SMALL SCALE GOLD MINING IN UMZINGWANE DISTRICT (ZIMBABWE), A POTENTIAL FOR ECOLOGICAL DISASTER

By

Siduduziwe Phiri 2009149747

Submitted In partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree Masters in Disaster Management

In the

Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa At the

UNIVERSITY OF THE FREE STATE

SUPERVISORS: ALICE NCUBE DR. GODFREY KUNDHLANDE 2011

DECLARATION

I declare that this research study is my original work submitted as a requirement in partial fulfilment of the Masters degree in Disaster Management at the University of the Free State, in Bloemfontein (South Africa). I declare that this work is submitted for the first time at this university/faculty and that it has never been submitted to any other university/faculty for the purpose of obtaining a degree. I hereby authorise copyright of this product to the University of the Free State.

………………………………………… SIDUDUZIWE PHIRI Student Number: 2009149747

………………………………………… DATE: 01 February 2012

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Dedication

I dedicate this work to the memory of my father, Mtima Phiri, and my mother, for her motherly and emotional support. You are always there for me, a pillar of strength indeed.

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Their unregulated activities in the district result in risk accumulation processes as it promotes land degradation. They however need improved access to financial resources and more incentives for conservation. The escalating rate of unemployment is a force behind the increase of artisanal small scale miners. There is massive land clearing as by burning of bushes and unregulated stripping of the overburden. The impacts far outweigh the potential socio economic benefits of artisanal small scale mining. The unskilled and underequipped artisanal small scale gold miners use mercury for amalgamation as it requires no special skill and is inexpensive.Abstract This research explores the ecological disasters in Umzingwane district caused by artisanal small scale gold mining. The negative effects are already being felt in the district as rampant land degradation has contributed to siltation of rivers and dams among other variables. iv . Bulawayo Metropolitan province and other rural areas that receive their water supply from the Umzingwane catchment have been affected in the process. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) acknowledges gold mining by itinerant miners as the means of livelihood for more than 13 million people in the developing world. vegetation destruction. Although there are many potential socio-economic benefits of artisanal small scale gold mining. there are numerous negative impacts from these small and inefficient operations as a result of wasteful extraction and processing techniques. and pollution of water sources. interviews and questionnaires. This risk accumulation process if not checked as is the case in Umzingwane district will put an insurmountable pressure on the ecology resulting in its collapse in future. destruction of vegetation as well as contamination of water bodies. Environmentalists and disaster planners face the challenge of regulating the artisanal small scale mining sector to reduce the ecological impacts because of lack of resources since the country is on the verge of hyper inflationary environment. Environmentally destructive mining practises persist as there is lack of enforcement and control mechanisms. especially in Umzingwane district. The role of the government as enforcers of laws and regulations and promoter of mining development need to be defined. The research projects found that it was a ticking time bomb for an ecological disaster. archival research. fast and effective. The study used observational fieldwork. The operations were found to be worsening environmental impacts. On the other hand miners need to take responsibility for the negative impacts from their livelihood.

my loved one for his unwavering support. for their motivation and support Stakeholders from various departments consulted. Godfrey Kundhlande for their impeccable guidance. for His divine inspiration and guidance. the Almighty. Even in times of despondency and discouragement he was there to say “You can still make it!” Richard Brown. Above all. for his encouragement. Patience and Everson Ndlovu. understanding and tolerance in many ways throughout the study period. v . Alice Ncube & Dr. Without Him. support and advice Fellow students. I thank God. professional and technical advice during my research study Gold panners in Umzingwane District for their support and cooperation during the research process Mkhululi Ncube. encouragement. for their cooperation and support. this work could not have been a success.Acknowledgements I express my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to the following individuals and groups of people: My Supervisors.

.....................................................6 Threats to biodiversity and underlying drivers in Umzingwane district ............................................................................................................iv Acknowledgements ...... 21 vi ........................................4 Environmental concerns of artisanal small scale mining ............................................14 2................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 21 2......................6.................................................................................. 19 2...............................................................................................8 Umzingwane community .....3 Research Question ............................... ix List of Tables ........................................................................................................................................................................1 Vegetation destruction ...6.................................................x List of abbreviations ...........5 Objectives ..........................................................................................................2 Definition of Terms.......................................................5........................................................5...........................................................................................................................................1 Introduction ..............9 Conclusion ... 8 1..................................... 19 2................................................5 Environmental context in Umzingwane district ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 18 2............................................. 14 2...................................................................................................................................................... iii Abstract............................. 14 2............................ 1 1...................................................................Table of Contents Dedication ................................................................ 20 2.......................................................................................1 Physical environment ................2 Land degradation and siltation ........................................................... ................... 1 1....... 9 1........... 9 1............................6 Significance of the study..................................3 Artisanal small scale gold mining in Umzingwane district .......................................... 9 1.....................................................................2 Economic resources .................................................................................. 7 1....................................... xi CHAPTER 1 .................................................................... 16 2...............................................................................14 Literature Review........2 Artisanal small scale mining overview ........................................................1 Background of study .................................................................................................................................................4 Aim of the study.1 Introduction ... 12 1................................................... 20 2.............. 10 1............................. 12 CHAPTER 2 ....................................................7 Study area..........................................................v List of Figures ..................................................................................................................

...................................................... 42 3............ 39 3.............................................. Health and safety .............. 42 3................................................................................... 25 2..................................1Qualitative research ................................................. 35 2.. Questionnaires.............6........................8 Environment management..............6..........................6 Dust and noise ..........................................................................................................4 The use of records.............5 Soil erosion ...1 Observation ............................................................................................................................. 23 2........ and existing evidence ... files...........................................................................3........................ protection and mining ....................37 Research Methodology ........6................6...................................6........................................................................................................ 29 2........................... 37 CHAPTER 3 .................................................................................... 26 2................................7 Limitations ............................................................................................................ 46 3..........................................................................3..........................................1 Introduction .....................................................................6...........10 Challenges for Natural Resources Management .................. 22 2....48 Data presentation and analysis . 47 3.....................................12 Conclusion . 44 3. 32 2..........................................................................................................................9 Prevention and Management of artisanal small scale mining ................................................... 47 3............................6............................................ 37 3.....................................2 Quantitative research ............... 48 vii ................... 25 2.................................. 39 3....5 Sampling Techniques ..... 34 2.............................2 Environmental protection versus economic empowerment .................4 Mercury poisoning....48 CHAPTER 4 ......... 32 2.....................................1 Inadequate Institutional Framework .................................. 44 3....3 Depletion of ground and surface waters ..................................................................................................................................................................................................1 Introduction .........................................2.........................................3 Research design and research instruments .............4 Population ................... 44 3. 38 3................................................................................................................................ economic and social costs and benefits ............................................................8 Conclusion ........................................6....................................................................................................................... 30 2........................3..............................10......10.............................................................................2 Interviews ..................................48 4......................................................................................................................6 Research instruments ...........................................................7 Legislative framework on mining and environmental management .....................2 Research methodology definition ......................... 37 3.......... 41 3.................................................................................................................11 Environmental.............................

................2 Impacts of gold panning on the environment in Umzingwane district ..............1 Recommendations ............................5 Extent of ecological problems ............................................. 51 4.................................................................... 56 4......................2 Conclusion .... 72 REFERENCES .................................................................................7 Potential disasters in Umzingwane district ..............................................................................................................................................................................................................81 viii ........1 Ecological problems....4 Elements at risk ..............1...................................................................................................... 49 4....................................................................................................................6 Protection of vulnerable elements .......... 70 5................................... 51 4.................................................. 53 4............................. 70 5.................................................................70 Recommendations and Conclusion .... 62 4.......................................................................... 65 4..........................................................................................1 Data analysis ...................................2...............................................75 APPENDICES ................................................................................................................................................................................................. 66 CHAPTER 5 .................................................4.......................3 Specific hazards identified in Umzingwane district ..........

.......... 11 Figure 4..............13: Extent of ecological Problems ................... 62 Figure 4...........8: Vulnerable elements identified in UMzingwane District .................2: Umzingwane Catchment area ........................15: Protection mechanisms ...................... 57 Figure 4........11: UMzingwane Dam......14: Ward 20 100% Burnt ........................................................................................................................................ 49 Figure 4.................................................................................1: Districts of Matabeleland South Province ...............Central Section ......... 51 Figure 4................................................................................................. 58 Figure 4..................... 54 Figure 4.............. 62 Figure 4........3: Ecological Problems Associated with gold panning ......................................................... 60 Figure 4...............16: Disasters in UMzingwane District as perceived by Respondents .................................... 52 Figure 4............. 66 ix ...............................................................1: Respondents Demographic Profile ...........................9: Deforestation and land degradation by gold.................................................12: Panning activities near UMzingwane Dam ........ 64 Figure 4. 56 Figure 4........................................................... 55 Figure 4.......5: Ward 20 severely burnt by the so called high profile mechanized miners......................................2: Push and Pull factors of Artisanal gold mining ..................6: Ward 20: Deforestation and excavations by Gold...... 50 Figure 4............List of Figures Figure 1...................................... 59 Figure 4..................................................7: Specific Hazards identified in Umzingwane district ...................10: UMzingwane dam: Eastern Section ......... 54 Figure 4.................4: Ecological Problems Associated with gold panning ........... 11 Figure 1........................................................................

..........................2: The Rank of Ecological problems .............................................................................................4: Artisanal small scale mining areas.......... 65 x .....................................................1: Key policies and laws relating to environmental management . 61 Table 4............................................................List of Tables Table 2......................5: Mitigation strategies in Umzingwane district .3: The dam levels at the end of each season ... 63 Table 4................................... 26 Table 4..............................................................1: Panners Profile .................................................................... 50 Table 4........................................... 52 Table 4...............................................

List of abbreviations AIDS AMWZ ASM Au BCC CPWF EIA EMA FAO GDP HIV GOZ ILO ISDR MMSD NGO SADC UNCED UNDP UNEP RDC ZNWA Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Associated Mine Workers of Zimbabwe Artisanal Small Scale Mining Gold Bulawayo City Council Challenge Programme on Water and Food Environmental Impact Assessment Environmental Management Agency Food and Agriculture Organisation Gross Domestic Product Human Immunodeficiency Virus Government of Zimbabwe International Labour Organisation International Strategy for Reduction Mining Minerals and Sustainable Development Nongovernmental Organisation Southern African Development United Nations Commission on the Environment & Development United Nations Development Programme United Nations Environment Programme Rural District Council Zimbabwe National Water Authority xi .

medium. Studies on the impacts of artisanal small scale gold mining have not been extensively carried out despite the fact that it employs more people than large scale mining. The number of 1 . defines artisanal small scale mining as an activity that encompasses small. Numerous environmental and social impacts from artisanal small scale mining are gaining interest. tolerate or minimize the adverse effects of economic hardships. Artisanal small scale gold mining in the Umzingwane district has intensified due to rising poverty levels and perennial droughts that have been affecting the area over the past decade. 2006:5). mine output. labour productivity. such mines are individual enterprises or small family owned companies not affiliated to multinational companies as well as gold panners. and size of concessions. informal. annual sales and levels of technology are used to define it (Lovitz. In this research there are instances where the term “gold panners” is used to refer to artisanal small scale miners. Taylor (1998) notes that artisanal small scale gold mining is perceived by many Zimbabweans as one of the few coping strategies employed by people to master. These miners are unskilled. however. legal and illegal miners who use rudimentary methods and processes to extract mineral resources. Variables like investment costs. For the purposes of this research. underequipped and not knowledgeable and have little appreciation of the environment. amount of resources. The importance of artisanal small scale gold mining is reinforced by the fact that in the past few years it has become the main source of cash income in place of animal farming. serves as a source of livelihood and income as it has become the major source of cash income.1 Background of study The research focuses on ecological problems caused by artisanal small scale (ASM) gold mining in Umzingwane district in Matabeleland South province in Zimbabwe. Artisanal small scale gold mining therefore. 2002). This research. One interview indicated that informal mining is prolific in the remote rural areas of Umzingwane district away from monitoring authorities (1).CHAPTER 1 Introduction 1. The definition of artisanal small scale mining varies from country to country (Africa.

Artisanal small scale gold mining has received a boost in Zimbabwe in the past decade from new government policies to encourage small scale mining through the Ministry of Small Scale and Medium Enterprises where miners are encouraged to peg claims and operate legally. The nature of the mining activity promotes destruction of large tracts of land through. 2007:7). air and the general biodiversity posing a threat to the ecosystem survival. deterioration of water and air quality. over the past decade subsistence agriculture has continued to decline due to frequent droughts in the area (Umzingwane District-Agritex. (2004) note that artisanal small scale gold mining has become rampant as a drought shock coping strategy in the poverty-stricken rural areas where rain fed agriculture. land degradation. poses ecological problems. taking up areas where formal mining has ceased due to viability problems facing large mining companies (Kamete. Traditionally. A certain group of artisanal small 2 . deforestation and land degradation. Rockstrom. loss of grazing land and the overall reduction in biodiversity. However. The disturbance of the ecosystem of Umzingwane district has been exacerbated by illegal and unregulated mining activities using metal detectors considered a high profile method of gold panning activity and is dreadful to the natural environment. Diversification into artisanal small scale gold mining in Umzingwane district. However. According to Dreschler (2001) the negative impacts of artisanal small scale gold mining in Umzingwane district are deforestation. 2006:23) and this has forced many households to diversify into gold mining along Insiza and Umzingwane rivers as well as in disused mines. susceptible to droughts and dry spells is the main livelihood strategy. people in Umzingwane district made their living from subsistence crop production and livestock rearing (Zimvac. households that relied on rain fed agriculture had continuously faced substantial food insecurity due to increased crop failure. 2007). In the recent past.artisanal small scale miners has also increased. in the process the move has neglected the key issues such as equipping and training of the artisanal small scale miners which can help in minimizing the adverse impacts on the environment. The practice has also become the worst enemy of water. Dreschler (2001) estimates that the number of people deriving their livelihood from artisanal small scale gold mining in Zimbabwe is well over two million if account of people who provide support services to artisanal small scale gold miners is taken. depletion of water resources. et al. while providing employment and livelihoods to many.

plant and vegetation covers.scale miners using metal detectors popularly known as „gold panners‟ burn bushes and in the process the trees and other elements (soil. infrastructure such as electricity and telephone poles. (2007) points out that environmental degradation is common in the Umzingwane catchment with artisanal small scale gold mining being the main driver. Vegetation and land that could be used for agriculture is destroyed in the process. Miththapala (2008) argues that land degradation leads to loss of livelihoods and reduced food security. He further argues that it “directly contributes to rapid loss of soil moisture and topsoil resulting in disruption of micro-climatic balances and the spread of desertification” (Shoko. 2001:1). This exercise disturbs the land. insects. Some of the effects of artisanal small scale gold panning include the deposition of sediments. wildlife and livestock) are destroyed as these detectors cannot detect in vegetation covered areas. perpetuating social and ecological problems in Zimbabwe. for the period of December 2008 to February 2009. increased spread of diseases and reduced economic activity. The dry savanna woodland ecosystem of Umzingwane district which is predominantly composed of indigenous mopane. Tunhuma. Environmental degradation has reduced the capacity of the ecosystem to meet the future needs of people for food and other products. and to protect them from flood and drought hazards. The soils in this environment have been rendered susceptible to erosion and now require adequate management (FAO 2004). In an interview in the Phase Progress Report on Zimbabwe. The degradation and loss of the ecosystem is capable of worsening negative impacts on human well-being such as reduced availability of goods and services to local communities. it emerged that one woman in Ward 1 in Umzingwane district reported 3 . deciduous and acacia trees has been cleared and only extensive patches of land void of plant and vegetation cover have been left behind. and also changing the river morphology. Love (2002) notes that for more than a decade artisanal small scale gold mining has become one of the major drivers behind environmental damage. sulphates. soil structure. Artisanal small scale gold miners in the Umzingwane district are involved in clearing large areas of land and indiscriminate cutting down of trees for firewood energy and infrastructural development (timbering of tunnels). Shoko (2001:5) points out that “mining requires the stripping of overburden to expose the mineral bearing horizons”. heavy metals such as mercury to the river system.

namely Umzingwane. Umzingwane district is a water catchment area for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province. 2011). 2004). Insiza and Mtshabezi where alluvial gold panning activities are concentrated (FAO. The effect on the storage capacity has already been felt in and around the district. Inyankuni and Umtshabezi dam currently being connected to Umzingwane dam. Mawabeni district centre of development and the surrounding areas. Inyankuni and Umtshabezi dams are a part. There are five dams supplying these areas. Artisanal gold mining in Umzingwane district depends heavily on water for the panning process. Esigodini rural district. Gold panning carried out on river beds and banks release huge amounts of silt and heavy metals into the river systems and dams worsening the risk of flooding and drying up of water reservoirs. Siltation of rivers as observed by Shoko (2002:1) “reduces river conveyance and the storage capacity of reservoirs. Lower Ncema. In a follow up survey by the researcher.to be destitute after allowing gold panners to pan for gold on her plot. 2009). depriving her of the best land for cultivating crops that she had ever owned. The existing status quo is largely blamed on the nature of gold mining in Umzingwane which involves the digging up of river channels and banks as well as surface trenching. Pallett (1997) and GOZ–MRRWD–DWD (2000) in FAO (2004:42) reiterate that of 2 168 dams in the Zimbabwean part of the Limpopo basin in which Umzingwane. Upper Ncema. the total capacity of the dams has fallen by about 29 million m3 as a result of siltation. Umzingwane. Drying up of dams and rivers in Umzingwane district has been blamed on siltation (ZINWA. Currently. The gold panning process on 4 . with Bulawayo being the worst hit by water shortages due to reduced storage capacity of the dams supplying water to the city. These dams are along three major rivers. It is clear that human activities remain the major threats to the environment in Zimbabwe and increase the natural threat to biodiversity. It is highly likely that the situation has worsened by now since it has been a decade since Pallet‟s publication. The river system has been identified as a key variable in the receiving end due to gold panning. lower Ncema. which in turn will make several areas prone to flooding” in future. The plot was completely destroyed. Upper Ncema. observations made on the dams and documentation indicates that water supplies do not last to the next rainfall season. Bulawayo‟s water consumption stands between 134 000m 3 and 140 000m3 of which 58% come from Umzingwane catchment area (Bulawayo City Council report May.

Zimbabwe therefore. 1985) to be used in carrying out studies to predict the potential impacts of mercury poisoning on humans and aquatic life. It echoes that: “This process transforms elemental mercury into methyl mercury. 5 . Promoting indigenisation through small scale mining promotes the use of mercury as it is inexpensive and therefore higher returns. where it is absorbed and processed by a variety of living organisms. The reasons are partially because there is no state of the art equipment such as the “ultra – clean free – metal sampling protocol (Gill & Fitzgerald.the river banks. Meech. Methyl mercury is one of the most toxic organic compounds and a powerful neurotoxin that works its way up the food chain through bioaccumulation”. Zimbabwe is at a stage of trying to recover from its inflationary period and mining seems to be taking the centre stage of development proceedings. it settles into the surrounding environment. Use of mercury in the extraction and processing of gold therefore is posing a threat to humans and aquatic life. et al. Mercury used by panners is discharged in an abusive manner into ecosystems (Pfeiffer& Larceda. Mercury is a harmful substance to humans. 1988. The use of mercury has polluted the water bodies and gold panning has contributed to the siltation of rivers and reservoirs resulting in reduced volume and quality of water a dam can hold. According to the UNDP report (2005) mercury is a poisonous substance when either inhaled or washed away. either indirectly or directly through bioaccumulation in the food chains (Tunhuma. Secondly. A better understanding of the processes that lead to environmental problems can help promote environmentally friendly gold mining practices. UNDP in its report (2005:57) further notes that the amalgamation process transforms mercury into a highly toxic substance. 1998).. To accomplish the concentration and amalgamation process gold panners use mercury. 2006). The research therefore seeks to investigate in depth the impacts of artisanal gold mining. animals and aquatic life. beds and the surrounding areas discharges huge amounts of loose silt and heavy metals into the river system and eventually to the dams. Soil and water quality are sensitive variables as they are the main drivers of ecosystems. has not paid enough attention to the impact of mercury contamination as a result of artisanal gold mining activities. These two are deemed to be victims of contamination and resultant pollution from highly toxic chemicals used in the processing of gold by the gold panners in the Umzingwane district. It causes lung cancer and skin disease if inhaled and if washed away during the amalgamation process.

The fragmentation of the ecosystem is as a result of Illegal gold panning which is located close to water sources or alternately to the tributaries supplying the main rivers or dams with water. biodiversity and riverine ecosystems. The resultant scenario from artisanal small scale gold mining on the ecology of Umzingwane has been the fragmentation of ecosystems and habitats. are on the increase. The immediate environmental health problems identified are injuries and deaths of humans as well as animals due to shaft collapse and excavations. Upper and Lower Ncema. There are also effects that are not immediate such as increased mortality as a result of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. 2003. forced to engage in unsustainable activities to meet short-term survival needs”. The proliferation of illegal gold panning has resulted in serious damage to aquatic life. Inyankuni and Insiza dams supply the city of Bulawayo with water and support fish species diversity and populations of aquatic life which have reduced in numbers of late. particularly bearing in mind that Umzingwane district forms part of the water catchment area. These environmentally unfriendly activities are carried by the rural poor populations of Umzingwane district. et al. There have been deaths and injuries associated with artisanal gold mining in Umzingwane district.. 2003). Poisoning of animals.Human beings. It has been noted that environmental health problems. According to Zimbabwe‟s Fourth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity (2010) dams in the Umzingwane Catchment. which lies south of Esigodini in Umzingwane district. (2005) in CPWF Project Report (2010:80) who view “the poor as both the victims and agents of environmental degradation.. both wildlife and domesticated ones. obstructing migratory routes to breeding and feeding grounds used by wildlife and depletion of fisheries. namely Umzingwane. et al. especially from fire and unsafe mining operations. and it coincides with Cunningham. et al. Hinton. These ecological problems alluded to are of major concern. as well as humans caused by toxic concentrations of elements such as mercury have been reported in Umtshabezi dam. performed by gravity separation through water medium (Babut. the key variable in perpetuating the degradation of ecosystems also suffer from their own creation. Animals in particular have suffered burns and deaths due to veld fires instituted by panners to clear land for easy mineral detection by metal detectors. The loss of habitat (drying up of rivers and surface waters. Such location is as a result of the large amounts of water demanded for mineral concentration. degraded land) which has negatively 6 .

It is against this background that this research focuses on the level of the impact of ecological problems caused by artisanal small scale gold mining in Umzingwane district. terrestrial biodiversity and productivity of both livestock and crops is evident in the district. if conducted in an appropriate manner generate significant benefits.In the Zimbabwe‟s fourth national report (2010) ecology is defined as the study of natural units that make up the environment called ecozones which are controlled by a 7 . If these ecological problems remain uncontrolled they are likely to deteriorate into severe droughts. pollution. increased deaths and health problems which are already prevalent for example HIV and AIDS in Umzingwane district. it presents the methods.affected aquatic life. results and conclusions of the field research focusing on stakeholders‟ perspectives about ecological impacts. 1997). The research identifies and lists the ecological aspects being affected by artisanal small scale gold mining. Artisanal small scale gold mining in Umzingwane district will. The research will also determine the nature and extent to which the ecosystem in the Umzingwane district has been frayed by artisanal small scale gold mining thereby worsening the impacts of ecological disaster conditions. loss of biodiversity. It is noted from the discussion that while impacts of artisanal small scale gold mining are a local problem. It assesses artisanal small scale gold mining role on ecological risk accumulation processes that worsen disaster conditions. 1. which include land degradation. Secondly. This research provides an overview of artisanal small scale mining in general and its impact outlining the ecological problems. Therefore any policy formulation designed to promote artisanal small scale gold mining needs to take into account the long term impacts and render miners responsible for their downstream ecological effects. the poor health and safety record and use of environmentally destructive mining and processing practices have drawn much negativity and criticism to the sector (Noestaller. However. they have long lasting effects at a global scale and the costs are borne by other people outside this area.2 Definition of Terms Ecology. The research therefore concludes with the discussion of recommendations of what stakeholders may engage in to mitigate the negative impacts for the long term vision of sustainable artisanal small scale gold mining. desertification. siltation and mercury poisoning.

timber and other extractive industries. In other terms ecosystems provide the basic necessities of life. Biodiversity. livelihoods. 2005). and health and intangible benefits with ecosystem services (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Sudumeier and Ash (2009) use the term sustainable ecosystems or healthy ecosystems implying that ecosystems are largely intact and functioning and that resource use or demand for ecosystem services does not exceed supply in consideration of future generations. land use and land cover changes due to conversion to mining. for example. highlights ecosystem degradation as the main driver undermining the existing link due to a number of human activities mainly. biodiversity is a combination of life forms and their interactions with one another and with the physical environment which has made earth habitable for people.According to Sudumeier-Rieux and Ash (2009). and are systems upon which major industries are based. human security. The threat posed by artisanal gold panning to the existing link among the variables of the ecosystems in Umzingwane district will be discussed in the study. mostly climate and are dominated by life forms with similar physical adaptations to these processes.set of common processes. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. agricultural inputs and mining (Sudumeier-Rieux and Ash. urbanization and pollution from chemical waste.Sudumeier-Rieux and Ash (2009) define ecosystems as dynamic complexes of plants. agriculture. overexploitation of resources like overfishing and unregulated artisanal mining activities.3 Research Question What is the impact of artisanal small scale gold mining on ecology in Umzingwane district? 8 . They contend that ecosystems are the basis of all life and livelihoods. however. offer protection from natural disasters and diseases and are the foundation for human culture (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. fisheries. Ecosystems . 2009). 2005). 1. The given definitions clearly demonstrate the strong and varied links that exist between human well being. croplands. animals and other living communities and their non-living environment interacting as functional units (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005).

2.5 1. commercial and subsistence irrigated agriculture. aquatic life forms – flora and fauna) management. Objectives To assess the role of artisanal small scale gold mining on ecological risk accumulation processes that worsen disaster conditions. legal mining. It also contributes to fundamentals of formalizing illegal gold mining and promoting community participation in policy making and environmental protection because it is the same community involved in these illicit activities. 2003:169). To identify and list ecological aspects being damaged by gold mining activities in the area. 9 . it is important to couple surface and groundwater management within any water and management models.6 Significance of the study In light of the calamities highlighted in the background statement. government. this research is important to the local community. policy makers and disaster managers in that it provides a step towards good land management practices that are crucial in sustainable resources (water. Community participation helps promote efforts that “advocate for cleaner production techniques to be used in the purification of gold to reduce impacts on gold panners and environment” (Ghose. as they are interconnected and interdependent hence. 1. Assessment of ecological disasters associated with gold panning is critical to decision-making. 1. planning and implementation of development projects that are competing for the same resources in the district. illegal gold mining. 3.4 Aim of the study To assess the contribution of artisanal and small scale gold mining on ecological damages in Umzingwane district in worsening conditions that exacerbate impacts of disasters. To determine the nature and extent of ecological disasters associated with gold mining.1. for example rural. urban (Bulawayo). This study also exposes the impact of artisanal gold mining on water quality and quantity and therefore contributes in forming the basis of studies on future modelling of the river basins in the district thereby leading to reduction in impending disasters. land. van der Zaag. Mabiza. Manzungu and Ahlers (2002) argue that local communities should protect both surface water and groundwater from pollution.

Sound knowledge of the hazards and risks faced helps the community develop coping strategies that are relevant to specifications.2) shows the catchment area of the district. Umzingwane. Umzingwane district covers a surface area of 2 820km2 and its population is estimated at 58 569 people. The area receives erratic rainfall averaging 760mm per annum with high temperatures. that is.7 Study area Umzingwane district is in the agro-region 4 and 5 in Matabeleland South Province in Zimbabwe in close proximity to Bulawayo (43km away) the second largest city in Zimbabwe. The maps (Figure 1. under threat. 1. A large proportion of the catchment area for the dams falls within these areas. The irony is that land degradation experienced in Umzingwane and Insiza River entail siltation of these dams thereby affecting storage capacity and water quality of these dams. Upper Ncema. Of interest is the fact that these dams supply Bulawayo Metropolitan with water. Esigodini. a resilient and disaster free community.The research raises awareness to the concerned society on the possible risks and hazards they are facing. A lot of alluvial gold panning activities take place on river beds and banks of Umzingwane and Mtshabezi Rivers. the research equips the communities involved and makes them more resilient to hazards hence. In a nutshell. and Mbalabala communal areas have been chosen for the study out of 20 wards in the district. Artisanal small scale gold mining occupies approximately 20% of the total surface area which is 564km2. 10 . It is one of the six districts in the drought-stricken province. Malungwane. Major dams. Most people in these areas have diversified to gold panning to sustain their livelihoods making the area more vulnerable to associated risks. These areas are a hub of artisanal gold panning. Esikhoveni.1) show the districts of Matabeleland South Province while (Figure 1. The choice of the areas has also been influenced by their accessibility. Mawabeni. Lower Ncema and Inyankuni and Mtshabezi are in this area.

1: Districts of Matabeleland South Province (Adapted from Mabiza. Manzungu and Ahlers.Figure1. 2008) Figure 1. Manzungu and Ahlers. van der Zaag.2 below is an illustration of the Umzingwane catchment area and it shows the drainage system in the area. The catchment area is the hub of artisanal small scale gold mining activities. 2008:5) 11 .2: Umzingwane Catchment area (Adapted from Mabiza. Figure1. van der Zaag.

Ecosystems are complexes of plants.IMERCSA (2000) cited by Kamete (2007) points out that resources like water. the exercise is having negative impacts on the ecosystem. Panning has become a way of life and is practised in almost every homestead and these activities only stop when people perform peasant farming. the two ecosystems in the Umzingwane district clearly demonstrate the link which is being violated or undermined by artisanal gold mining practices through the exploitation of resources that is. An investigation into the nature and extent of damage on the catchment area. Since ecosystems are not isolated but connected through the biodiversity. The ecosystems being impacted in Umzingwane district are the aquatic life because of numerous dams in the area and the woodlands. land use and land cover changes and conversion from croplands to mining and pollution. Artisanal small scale mining in this district comprises of men. elements at risk and environmental impacts helps improve understanding of full effects of the informal gold mining on the environment. over-panning. Miners are highly mobile to the extent that once high value ores are exhausted or once the ore becomes inextractible they just move to new virgin land without rehabilitating the mined out areas. However. aquatic life forms. human health and natural resources within Umzingwane district. land. women and children who are poor and largely rural as well as few professionals. vegetation. 1. The bulk of the gold panners have little or no schooling therefore lack of mining skills and appreciation of the importance of a healthy environment. 1. Ecosystem management is central to building resilience of communities and managing risks as it is the cornerstone of enhanced livelihood security for the poor. water. The analysis assists in finding out if costs imposed by gold panning are worth the problems emanating.9 Conclusion Artisanal gold mining is the main activity in generating livelihoods and household incomes in Umzingwane district. Healthy ecosystems comprise of interacting and 12 .8 Umzingwane community The people involved in the panning activity are mainly young to middle aged ranging from the ages of 14 to 55 years. animals and other living communities and other non-living environment interacting as functional units. while many of the people in Umzingwane district have turned to gold panning to enhance their livelihoods. rivers and the land itself are adversely affected by gold panning activities. air and people that they constitute and support.

and humans (deaths and injuries due to shaft collapse and contaminated fish). aquatic life (fisheries). are the river systems. land. animal and other species which constitute a broader array of biodiversity which is defined as the combination of life forms and their interactions with one another and with the physical environment comprising of earth habitable for people. plant and vegetation cover. 13 . soil profile. water quality.diverse plant. The variables that this research looks at.

CHAPTER 2 Literature Review 2. safety issues relating to chemicals used and collapse of shafts. soil erosion. gulley formation. The definition depends on the use of the term. Land degradation. that is. large scale and small scale mining or in terms whether they are legal or illegal (formal or informal) as well as according to methods used to carry out the operations. Formal small scale mining in Umzingwane district is also artisanal because it is underequipped and uses rudimentary methods in the extraction of gold. as well as protection measures suggested by other scholars form part of this chapter. places artisanal small scale mining under two broad categories of mining activities. deforestation. and Zimbabwe in particular. Svotwa and Mtetwa (1997) contend that the mining sector consists of formal large scale subsector. Dreschler (2001) on the other hand. Issues relating to management of natural resources to ensure sustainability. air and water pollution are some of the problems facing both the formal and informal mining industry in the developing countries.2 Artisanal small scale mining overview The term artisanal small scale mining covers a broad spectrum of activities which makes it difficult to define.1 Introduction This chapter discusses the context of artisanal small scale gold mining as perceived in this research. Classification depends on the size of operation. 2. An outline of the legal framework guiding mining operations and their challenges in Zimbabwe is discussed as well. Challenges posed by gold panning to the environment include human and animal health. legal or illegal that use rudimentary and unregulated means of extracting. 14 . The research refers to all small scale mining activities going on in Umzingwane district. the formal small scale subsector and the informal small scale or artisanal small scale miners who are primarily unregistered gold panners concentrated mainly along major rivers. namely the formal small scale mining activities and the informal small scale mining activities.

Shamu and Wolff. legal and illegal miners who use rudimentary methods and processes to extract mineral resources. However. it is difficult to establish the exact number of active miners since operations are affected by lack of capital and others register mining claims for speculative purposes (Maponga:1995). 1999) put the figure at between 50 000 and 350 000. Svotwa. and laid off workers who have formed cooperatives (MMSD Global Report. Suffice it therefore to conclude that the practice can promote the spread of diseases. The major characteristic of this category of miners is that it is highly nomadic in nature and as a result they fail to have permanent infrastructure such as houses. for example up to a million miners have been found to be working in one site. Dreschler (2001) argues that in Zimbabwe. (1999) tried to quantify the number of gold panners in Zimbabwe using panner densities derived from the number of gold panners physically counted per kilometre of river course. artisanal mining primarily consists of gold diggers and panners (men. The ILO (Sectoral Activities Programme. women and children) scattered along some 500km of Zimbabwe‟s major rivers. informal. and estimated the number to be between 200 000 and 250 000.This research defines artisanal small scale mining as an activity that encompasses small. In Myamar‟s jade mines. Formal or legal. However. (1993) estimate the number of illegal gold panners to be well over 100 000 in Zimbabwe. they operate illegally. in some cases the panners still manage to produce agricultural crops on their smallholding land. syndicates and co-operatives. Only few small scale miners own land and in most cases. Artisanal 15 . individuals have been found to be panning for gold as well as former state mining employees. medium. The smallest mining claim is a block of ten hectares in size measuring 500m x 200m. whilst in the remote areas of the Brazillian Amazon. this is far removed from the panning area. 2002). Zimbabwe‟s Shamva mining centre is a living example of such cooperatives. water and sanitation. et al. This group includes lowers. small scale is made up of those miners who have their mining claims registered with Ministry of Mines and Mining Development following the provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act Chapter 21:05 (1996). Dreschler (2001) argues that the number of people earning a living from artisanal gold mining could be well over two million if considering the number of those people providing panners with services. et al. The informal (illegal) small scale mining or artisanal mining refers to those miners who have their claims unregistered in accordance with the provisions of Mines and Minerals Act. Research has shown that 80% small scale mining is in gold as it has a ready market.

coal and platinum are valuable. but has been inclusive and taken as contribution of mining to the country. However. it has contributed immensely to the mining industry. according to Dreschler (2001) artisanal small scale miners contribute up to 25% of the total gold production in Zimbabwe. 1997). and is the second foreign exchange earner after tobacco (Dreschler. contributing 27% of total export (Gin. 2002). The material is brought out for hand panning. since 2000 has witnessed a number of policy changes promoting indigenisation which has seen the liberalization of mining operations with many people going into artisanal small scale mining. The activity leaves behind large amounts of piled sand together with numerous pits along the riverbanks. 2001). however the turn of the 20th century saw an establishment of more than 4 000 mine workings. During this period mining became Zimbabwe‟s leading industry. Mining at its peak in 1986 contributed seven per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Zimbabwe School of Mines module. and even today it remains a strong base believed to turn around the Zimbabwe‟s economy with artisanal small scale gold mining playing a major role in the development of Zimbabwe and the economy. Despite the size of the operation of artisanal small scale mining. 2. Again mineral shipments for 2008 amounted to 676 million representing about 51% of the total export shipments and 3. gold remains the mainstay of the mining sector contributing about 40% of the overall mineral output. The facts and figures of mining contribution in Zimbabwe are discussed below.8% GDP. Although such minerals as nickel chrome. Around 1996 the mineral industry in Zimbabwe was a major contributor to the world supply for crysotile asbestos and lithium minerals. Most scholars argue that the contribution of artisanal small scale mining has not been calculated independent of large scale operations. The research carried out by Svotwa and Mtetwa in 1997 indicate that the 16 . The contribution has made mining in Zimbabwe an economic and social backbone.3 Artisanal small scale gold mining in Umzingwane district Zimbabwe. Traditionally. artisanal small scale mining in Zimbabwe can be traced back to the 13th century. The attempt by Zimbabwe in formalizing artisanal small scale mining has been necessitated by this contribution. Mined waste is usually dumped close to the shafts and abandoned.small scale gold miners mine by stripping the overburden material to get the minerals at the bottom of the riverbed or along river banks and these are known as gold panners.

. It is therefore highly likely that the mentioned figures have now doubled with Umzingwane District included. Shoko (2005) notes that more than 50% of those actively involved in the sector are women and unfortunately children. It is not this district alone. as Shoko (2005) argues that in countries like Bolivia. which is a non-renewable resource. Artisanal small scale mining employs more people in Umzingwane district. The increase of these miners in a way entails more stress on the natural environment. Philippines and Zimbabwe ASM participation is seasonal if people are not involved in agriculture and/or during droughts. This response according to Dreschler is certainly true for most artisanal small scale reef miners in the district. Majority of the population is in this sector because they have no way to provide for their families (Heemskerk. as well as to subsistence farmers in this dry region (Bugnosen. 2002). In the same vein the economic crisis that has bedevilled Zimbabwe for more than a decade now. People in the district see it as the only way to alleviate poverty as the population has no other economic opportunities. (2000) cited by Dreschler (2001) argue that at least 80 % of gold reef miners interviewed in Umzingwane district claimed they derived all their income from mining. has forced many people to opt for gold mining as a source of income. Artisanal small scale mining is mainly seasonal in Umzingwane district. Veiga and Hinton (2002) agree that. Drechsler (2001) in his research on ASM in Zimbabwe. However. et al.small scale mining sector comprises of more than 20 000 registered mining claims with about ten per cent in full operation and about 300 000 unregistered illegal miners. Indonesia. The emergence of artisanal small scale miners in Umzingwane district is as a result of the economic recession and drought as has been the case 17 . although others do it on a full-time basis. ASM in Umzingwane district is a poverty-driven economic activity and is therefore seen as a panacea for survival in such harsh living conditions and thus it cannot be ignored (Shoko 2001). ultimately it is a quest for survival driving most artisanal miners who work to provide for their families. 2000). et al. It is a social safety net for the unemployed and those who have no other opportunities. hence an increase in environmental damage. notes that nearly all the miners indicated harsh economic conditions resulting from retrenchment of workers from paid employment and high unemployment levels as the main reasons for going into artisanal small scale mining. Svotwa. Mali. the same Umzingwane miners opened up on their wives or spouses performing farming activities and occasionally joining alongside them when farming is over.

poor and live in remote areas where no opportunities exist for formal employment. According to (Shoko. Dreschler (2001) argues that development of ASM has been further aggravated by poor agricultural yields due to erratic rainfall patterns. 2. whose understanding of the importance of environment management is below par. where technical and management skills are lacking. unregulated. Kambani (2001) argues that as a result the environmental degradation caused by ASM. Ghose (2003:167) points out that it is because of their nature that these operations feature poor environmental management practices and safety conditions. 1997). ASM is conducted on a very rudimentary level using basic tools such as picks and shovels. Despite this kind of contribution. 2005) the wide-ranging problems of ASM in Umzingwane district are almost similar to those in developing countries. In addition to direct employment opportunities. It has created demand for production inputs. These problems are exacerbated by the fact that in as much as the sector is highly labour intensive it provides employment and incomes to large numbers of people who are generally uneducated. The gold rush of Brazil 1987 is an example that resulted in the deaths of about 1500 people. He further states that the emergency of ASM clearly shows that the activity is poverty driven during times of economic recession. it is growing with the intensification and growth of artisanal 18 .4 Environmental concerns of artisanal small scale mining Artisanal small scale gold mining (ASM) is rudimentary and highly migratory in nature. transportation and other services as well as benefits due to increased income and consumer spending (Noetsaller. undercapitalised and underequipped mining operations. Kambani (2001) notes that from a structural and technical perspective.with listed countries above. He further reiterates that the problems in Umzingwane district are borne out of the fact that artisanal small scale mining is commonly associated with informal. The problems of artisanal small scale mining are discussed as follows. ASM in Umzingwane district contributes to a substantial number of indirect jobs in other sectors of the economy. They include environmental impacts which affect the delivery of services to the local community and disruption of their life. artisanal small scale gold mining cannot be an encouraged livelihood and means of production as long as it remains unsafe and creating conditions that have potential to create ecological disasters as in Umzingwane district.

Review of the Second Five Year National Development Plan (SFYNDP) for the period 19911995 noted that unplanned gold panning is among the major problems that lead to serious environmental degradation in Zimbabwe. In addition. There are no natural lakes even though there are four major rivers dissecting in a dendritic pattern and six large dams found in the area with the largest one supplying Bulawayo City with 58% drinking water. thus any locked up gold is lost to tailings (Maponga. Musingwini & Sibanda. This is further aggravated by the fact that institutions responsible for managing the environment are unable to effectively carry out regulatory and monitoring mandates due to lack of resources. 1995.5 Environmental context in Umzingwane district 2. Ground water is the principal source of water in this area. deforestation. The soils over granite rock structures are course and sandy and low in fertility. Some artisanal miners use mercury to recover gold resulting in contamination of river systems thereby posing danger of poisoning plant and animal life dependant on these river systems for survival. 2. They note that these soils have a deficiency in nitrogen and phosphorous. weirs and dams downstream.1 Physical environment Renaudin and Patinet (2010) contend that the area that surrounds Umzingwane district is dominated by bare granite hills and hills covered with vegetation separated by flat land with occasional flat rock structures (dwala). These massive negative impacts are brought about by the fact that miners are only interested in alluvial free gold. The practice results in physical environmental damage to rivers with consequent siltation of rivers. health and safety problems. but these are seasonal due to persistent droughts. Wetlands form another important source of water for watering gardens and livestock. 19 . The clay content is low hence low H2O and nutrient holding capacities. which is the case with Zimbabwe. Renaudin and Patinet (2010) further point that the district has a total rainfall of between 450-650mm per annum. The plan puts it clearly that there is no doubt that small scale mining contributes significantly to land degradation. They also argue that there seems to be sufficient reserves of water according to water statistics in the district. 1999). It is subject to periodic and recurrent seasonal droughts and even severe dry spells during the rainy season.mining.5.

The grasslands are the main source of grazing land. The set of problems caused by the clearing of land include soil erosion.2. Water pollution causes the destruction of aquatic ecosystems. building material. Illegal gold panning takes place on the sandy river beds and on the adjacent river banks as well as on virgin land where gold reefs have been identified. the economic impacts are difficult to measure as most people engaged in the exercise are young men. forests and minerals of economic importance. in Umzingwane. plant life and depletion of fresh water resources. Gold is mined in the district and there are several registered mines (local government report. The third set of problems are those caused by air pollution and they are ozone depletion which protects short-wave radiation from the sun and global warming in which greenhouse gases trap long wave radiation thereby increasing the temperature on the earth‟s surface. Noise pollution from stamp mills. The environmental impacts of the activity in the district are easily identified even though difficult to quantify.5. women and children whose money is mainly spent in night clubs. 2010). 20 . According to Renaudin & Patinet. (2010). a strategy seeking to cushion people livelihoods against such shocks as drought. Land degradation as well result in the loss of the landscape aesthetic value as mining activities leaves open pits and mounds of sand. 2. destruction of ecosystems and loss of biodiversity. siltation.6 Threats to biodiversity and underlying drivers in Umzingwane district According to Shoko (2001) the following are environmental problems and their possible causes as a result of artisanal small scale mining and or gold panning in the Amazon basin. fencing and fuel leading to deforestation and subsequent land degradation. 2001). Trees are cut down for firewood. wooded grassland and woodland covered by Terminalia and combretum trees with 5-5m height. and only little income is left for the households (Shoko. and soil compaction.2 Economic resources The resources discussed in this section include trees. loss of hearing and migration of wild life and birds. These threats to biodiversity are likely to occur in Umzingwane district and they are discussed below. there are three types of vegetation in the Umzingwane district and these are bushveld mainly covered with acacia ranging between 1-5m high. Waste material is visible along Umzingwane and Insiza rivers where gold panning is taking place. Although gold panning is deemed by many as a source of employment. pan dishes and blasting also causes ill health.

(1999) refer to land degradation as a composite term defined as sustained loss in the quality and the productive capacity of the land.6. Dreschler (2001) argues that 80% of the operations are open casts or shallow pits less than 30m deep and there are left uncovered and unprotected. the accumulated impacts of numerous artisanal small scale mining operations can create serious problems for ecosystems and local communities. This is as a result of the nomadic nature of artisanal small scale gold mining. 2. Chiwawa (1993:25) estimates that about four million tonnes of wood is used in Zimbabwe every year as fuel which translates to massive deforestation. but they move a huge volume of about ten million tonnes of rock material per year.6. reduction of grazing land for animals and the overall reduction in biodiversity. Artisanal small scale gold miners are responsible for the clearing of extensive areas for fuel and infrastructural development in Umzingwane district. is massive. Artisanal Small scale miners occupy and utilize about 0. deterioration of water quality. These rapid overnight settlements as observed by Shoko (2005) in newly discovered gold and gemstone areas does not only result in rampant deforestation. A common indicator of land degradation is chiefly soil erosion among the reduction in vegetation cover and changes in vegetation composition. prostitution. This kind of land disturbance resulting from gold panning activities leave a noticeable effect on the siltation of rivers and dams. These figures show that the risk accumulation process as a result.2. they construct makeshift homes out of pole and dagga using local trees. vertical shafts. The interesting point to note is that 100% of the miners‟ fuel needs come from wood. 1999) and leads to household and national food insecurity in many countries. underground operations require the opening up of adits.005% of total land in use (Dreschler. He goes on to say that the excess reliance on wood as a source of energy results in the reduction of biodiversity and increasing rates of deforestation. Land degradation threatens the economic and physical survival (UNEP.1 Vegetation destruction Dreschler (2001) argues that when the miners discover a lucrative area. land use conflicts with local communities as well as water pollution. UNCED in the FAO discussion paper (2004) refers to desertification and land degradation as one. winzes 21 . child labour and diseases. Shoko (2005) argues that the environmental impacts of individual operations are not necessarily significant. but also social ills associated with urbanization which include alcohol abuse.2 Land degradation and siltation UNEP. In some cases. 2001).

6. Shoko (2005) points that frequent flooding of low-lying areas especially in Mozambique. heavy metals.and raises as well as underground tunnels leading to land subsidence. Shoko. hence the current study. Mozambique and Tanzania is reported to have been increasing at the rate of more than five per cent per annum. research has indicated that artisanal gold mining puts a lot of strain on water as a resource. Zimbabwe and South Africa recently. He further annotates that siltation results in the reduction of conveyance and storage capacities of rivers and dams. This has the overall net effect of promoting dry conditions as well as flooding respectively. There has also been an emergency of invasive alien species on the stockpiles. Siltation is also responsible for the destruction of habitats for fish and other aquatic organisms. Generally. 2. drainage of wetlands and the siltation of rivers and dams. sulphates and other pollutants are dissolved and leached out by precipitation into local streams and community water sources. it suffices to presume that Umzingwane district might be facing a similar predicament. Chiwawa (1993) in Shoko (2005) argues that siltation in Zimbabwe. For instance. with the passage of time. In light of these challenges posed by artisanal small scale mining on the environment.3 Depletion of ground and surface waters Shoko (2005) argues that absolute dependence on the use of large volumes of water dictates the location of mining operations close to water sources or right at the water source. The activities of artisanal small scale mining in the Amazon basin as observed by Shoko (2005) have the potential to promote water pollution and depletion of both surface and natural underground sources as they are highly dependent on water. He further notes that the miners in the concerned district carry out their sieving and amalgamation process on the river bed and as such contribute to accelerated evaporation of surface water. rivers and lakes. South Africa and Zimbabwe has been attributed to the siltation of dams. These contain significant amounts of sulphides and. According to Dreschler (2001) artisanal small scale gold mining is associated with mushrooming of unplanned squatter camps located close to water courses with poor or no 22 . Furthermore. It is believed that siltation has played a major role in the frequency and magnitude of flooding in countries like Mozambique. Umzingwane district is no exception to these problems. (2005) notes that ore and waste stockpiles established on surface has a negative impact on the environment. The impact of mineral pollution on an ecosystem may be severe and may result in the total elimination of animal life from the receiving waters.

Health and safety The use of mercury in the amalgamation process of gold pollutes water and ecosystems. Bonzongo & Adotey. Dreschler (2001) argues that the main pollutants are mercury and cyanide. Shoko (2005) observes that in alluvial gold panning operations. Dreschler (2001) notes that the use of mercury in Zimbabwe is widespread. et al. These salts. Despite the wide ranging problems.sanitary facilities. Artisanal small scale gold mining forms one such anthropogenic activity that has promoted the use of large amounts of 23 . Zimbabwe and Mozambique since use of mercury by artisanal small scale mining is extensive as well. It is dispersed very effectively through the atmosphere with long residence of about 2 years… Thus according to Donkor. Donkor (2006:3) argues that mercury is poisonous to humans and aquatic based food chains through bioaccumulation. established that 78% of water samples tested in the Lake Victoria Goldfields contained mercury in concentrations high above the drinking water standard of 1g/l. Nartey. This scenario is believed to be similar in countries like Zambia. mineral concentration is conducted “by the use of gravity separation through the medium of water” using panning dishes and sluice boxes. Mercury (Hg) is a liquid metallic substance which is highly toxic if consumed or inhaled. when in soluble state in water. are bio-available and are thought to be toxic. Elemental Hg is quite volatile and only slightly soluble in water.4 Mercury poisoning. 2003. and to some extent human excrete because of lack of sanitation facilities. Hg (II) or mercuric salts are more prevalent in the environment than Hg (I) mercurous salts. 2. 2006). simple and cheap with as much as up to 2g per gram of gold (Au) recovered. North America and African continents with high emissions in third world countries (Lacerda.6. Asia. in Donkor. it continues to be used excessively especially in South America. In a study by Mpendazoe (1996:110) in Tanzania. It is used with the view that the more the mercury used the more Au is recovered. According to Filho and Maddock (1997) use of mercury in the extraction of gold poses a problem in mining areas world over. effective. Lodenius and Malm (1998) in Donkor (2006:1) posit that: Mercury forms salts in two ionic states Hg (I) and Hg (II). This development has high chances of considerable amount of water pollution from human waste. mercury in its various oxidation states is released into the environment from various anthropogenic activities and natural sources. (2006).

for example methy-Hg (a highly toxic chemical to organisms) by microbial activity. Poisoning of humans by this toxic chemical is mainly through consumption of contaminated fish as demonstrated during the Minamata Bay disaster. it was found out that 60% of the population had general body weakness..1998. 55% had symptoms of nausea. 2006). 50% had lost teeth. Methyl-Hg is soluble in liquids and thus mercury can easily cross biological membranes. “ingested by aquatic biota. 2006:1). 40% had high mercury levels in hair and 30% had high mercury levels in blood. Dreschler (2001) quoting the Insiza Mining district (ITDG. et al. 1998) notes that in a sample of miners examined for mercury poisoning in the study in Insiza. Insiza district is adjacent to the Umzingwane district and as such.metallic mercury. barrels and during smelting. At times inorganic mercury may be converted to organic forms of mercury... This is so because large-scale miners use carbon in the adsorption process (attraction of gold into carbon) from cyanide solution. 45% had a history of respiratory distress and 40% had high salivation and tremors. 2006). Dreschler (2001) noted that 50 % of the six tonnes of mercury is lost on the amalgam plates. (1998) in Donkor (2006) in their argument that miners usually discharge mercury into the ecosystem in an abusive manner. The estimations of mercury imported into the country stand at nine tonnes and Dreschler (2001) argues that about six tonnes of this mercury is utilized by artisanal small-scale gold miners. Sediments are now known to function as sinks and potential sources of mercury and once contaminated they pose high risk to life forms for a long period of time. lost to the atmosphere and dispersed” or conveyed to new uncontaminated zones (Ullirich. Japan in the 1950s when inhabitants living in fishing communities suffered an epidemic of neurological disorders due to mass poisoning as a result of consumption of mercury contaminated fish (Donkor. Mercury also has protein binding properties that allows it to readily bio-accumulates and bio-magnifies in aquatic food chains thereby causing a threat to humans and other animals feeding on fish (Lodenius & Malm. et al. This viewpoint is captured by Pfeiffer and Lacerda (1988) and Meech. et al. Depending on prevailing environmental conditions mercury compounds in aquatic systems can be transformed and released from sediments to water phase. The largest group of panners is therefore exposed to direct inhalation of mercury fumes during retorting as they all want to see the most exciting process. in Donkor. there should be a strong relationship in the 24 . et al. in Donkor. 2001. Methyl-Hg is a potent neurotoxin that damages the central nervous system and highly poisonous to foetus.

nobody is interested in collecting and maintaining data of this nature because both the Ministry of Mines Department and the Chamber of Mines do not recognize these as mine accidents or fatalities because of the illegal nature of their operations.7. et al. He further reiterates that accidents are as a result of collapse of sidewalls and hanging walls as a result of undercutting worsened by lack of underground support systems. resources and ignorance. In addition to problems arising from the use of mercury. The problems faced can be overcome by following legal frameworks that guide the operations of mining activities regardless of the size of operation as discussed under item 2. Apparently. there is need for extensive research in this area in order to come up with ways of combating the environmental problems. 2. 2001). According to Dreschler (2001). Gold panners as argued by Dreschler (2001) move an average of eight million tonnes of material for panning per year. the sector claims lives of about over 20 people every year.6. Hence. et al. Umzingwane district is not left out as the artisanal gold miners in the area are facing this same predicament. (2006) contends that mercury forms part of the toxic elements that are of priority globally. international agencies and many environmental pressure groups. ASM is fraught with very poor health and safety conditions as a result of lack of skills. All these symptoms are associated with occupational mercury poisoning.figures indicating mercury contamination of miners.6 Dust and noise Dreschler (2001) in his study finds that the widespread use of pestle and mortar generates fine quartz dust. which is inhaled by those involved (mostly women) in the process. Dreschler (2001) argues that this is not surprising. when considering how carelessly mercury is being handled by the miners in this sector. and this ends up in the streams and dams as silt. The dust and 25 .6. (2006:1) artisanal gold mining with mercury (Hg) “has been a subject of keen interest and intense debate by the public. because of Hg’s toxicity to the living organisms and humans” Donkor. According to Donkor. Some dams and weirs have been known to silt completely within five years (MMSD. In Umzingwane district they have destroyed about three metres of Umzingwane river bank on either side of the river in cases where mineralisation continues beyond the banks.5 Soil erosion Closely linked with vegetation destruction and land degradation is the case of soil erosion. 2.

He also notes that noise. management and sustainable development.1: Key policies and laws relating to environmental management ACT OR POLICY KEY ELEMENTS IMPLEMENTING AUTHORITY 26 . he further points that the average artisanal small scale miner uses about 5kg of explosives per blast. (Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management. These pieces of legislation should be considered during the EIA decision-making process in artisanal small scale gold mining activities in Umzingwane district. The miners access explosives through illegal means as they should be kept in safe places. Table 2.1 below gives an outline of the different legislations tailor made to protect the environment. In 2002 the government of Zimbabwe promulgated the Environmental Management Act 2002 (Chapter 20:27) with the purpose of complementing and enhancing the Environmental Management Act and other complimentary acts pertaining the environmental protection. In addition. However. they become a hazard.fumes generated by blasting are quickly diluted and dispersed as most operations are shallow workings. Table 2. It has numerous pieces of legislation which have a bearing on environmental management and sustainable development. 2. One can therefore assert that many of the miners exposed to this operation are likely to end up with pneumoconiosis diseases such as silicosis and tuberculosis.7 Legislative framework on mining and environmental management It has been noted that the amended Zimbabwean Constitution (2000) has no specific clause providing for the protection of the environment nor did the Natural Resources Act (1941: chapter 20:13 now repealed) directly cover Environmental Impacts Assessment (EIA). some scholars note that these legislations pose challenges in environmental management as they are fragmented and conflicting. dust and blasting vibrations produced in artisanal small scale mining operations are by no means comparable to that produced in large scale mining operations which are a common feature in large scale mines. These explosives once they find their way to artisanal small scale miners. In artisanal small scale mines these are almost non-existent. The licensed miners get business from unlicensed miners who would want their ore milled. In Umzingwane district there are some small scale miners who operate legally and have access to the explosives which they buy for their counterparts who are not licensed. 2010). The challenges have to be addressed in line with environmental issues cutting across a wide range of sectors.

botanical reserves and gardens.g. social and economic issues as well as providing mechanisms for environmental management and organizational responsibilities and institutional arrangements. Ministry of Environment and Tourism Second Draft National Environmental Policy Sept 2003 Ministry of Environment and Tourism. and develops the National Environmental Action plan. The policy is still under discussion with stakeholders. Ministry of Rural Resources and Water Development. Chapter 20:14) Communal Land Forest Produce Act The Act establishes national parks. Ministry of Environment and Tourism Parks and Wildlife Act (1975. The Water (Waste and Effluent Disposal) Regulations of 2000. and designates specially protected animals and indigenous plants. which are associated with this Act. 31 of 1998 The Act regulates the planning and development of water resources. August 1997 This policy requires that the responsible authorities should not grant permits to projects that are prescribed for EIA before such EIA has been undertaken. conserving timber resources. The Act creates a framework for environmental management. This policy will complement and enhance the Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20:27). fish and plants. reviewed and accepted by the Department of Natural Resources (now Environmental Management Agency). It establishes National Environmental Policy goals and principles for environmental conservation. and specifies procedures for the administration of the EIA process. The Bill requires EIAs to be undertaken for prescribed activities. Chapter 19:05) The Act provides for demarcating forests and nature reserves. and led to the promulgation of the Environmental Management Act (Chap 20:27). EIA is regarded as part of project planning. The Act controls the use of wood resources within communal lands. specify what quality is acceptable in terms of effluent released into rivers. air. regulating trade in forest produce. noise. This policy is supported by environmental guidelines for various sectors. • The Hazardous Substances and Articles Act (Chapter 15:05) and • The Noxious Weeds Act (Chapter 19:07). Such resources in communal lands should be used for domestic Ministry of Environment and Tourism Ministry of Environment and 27 . waste and hazardous substances). Ministry of Environment and Tourism EIA Policy. No. effluents. (e. and provides a framework for allocating water permits. water. Water Act.Environmental Management Act (2002) This Act has been repealed • The Natural Resources Act (Chapter 20:13). safari areas and recreational parks provides for the conservation and control of wildlife. sanctuaries. • The Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act (Chapter 20:03). makes provision for the formulation of environmental quality standards. (1949. and regulating the burning of vegetation. Forest Act.

2003. Southern African Institute for Environmental Assessment. Ministry Environment Tourism of and Locust Control Act (1971. Chapter 20:21) The Act prohibits making.Pages 297 -325 28 . prospecting for and extraction of minerals and decommissioning of mining works. Windhoek. P-J. Ministry of Lands and Agriculture Plant Pests and Diseases Act (1959. Chapter 19:08) The Act provides for the eradication and prevention of the spread of plant pests and diseases. V Booth and B Walmsley. and specifies the purposes for which animal trapping is permitted. Chapter 29:13) The Act allows for the establishment of rural district councils responsible for initiating and regulating development in rural areas. Chapter 19:06) The Act controls locusts. It also regulates the importation and sale of fertilisers and farm seeds. farm feeds. Chapter 19:09) Ministry of Environment and Tourism Adapted from: Spong. Farm Feeds and Remedies Act (1953.(1988. Ministry of Lands and Agriculture The Act prohibits activities considered cruel to animals Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1960. Ministry of Local Government and National Housing Fertilizer. Country chapter on Zimbabwe in “EIA in Southern Africa”. Chapter 21:05 The Act regulates the acquisition of mining rights. possessing or using certain types of traps. 19:04) Chapter purposes by the residents only. and sterilising plants. Ministry of Mines and Energy Trapping of Animals (Control) Act (1974. . Tourism Rural District Councils Act (1989. Ministry of Lands and Agriculture Mines and Minerals Act (1961. Chapter 18:12) The Act provides for the registration of fertilisers.

2002). It is therefore every miner‟s obligation. social. this particular mining sector poses a severe ecological disaster and thus the economy will suffer and shrink. The ISDR strategy follows a strong world movement insisting that every activity be undertaken in an environmentally acceptable manner. The term environment is a broad term that refers to a multiplicity of issues and there is therefore need to define it. economic and environmental losses as a result of natural hazards and related technological environmental phenomena” (ISDR. as it is used in the context of this research. whether large or artisanal to see. Sweden and the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit. It is also important to note that Zimbabwe subscribes to the 1972 Stockholm Conference. The Zimbabwe School of Mines module (1997) argues that in as much as mining should continue to flourish and grow in Zimbabwe. directly and indirectly affecting their functioning. they can be divided into the natural and manmade landscape environments. The objective of environmental management is sustainability meaning that the environment has to be protected at individual. protection and mining The environment cuts across all sectors of society and economy. ISDR is a theoretical framework that puts emphasis on integrating disaster risk reduction (DRR) into a broader perspective of sustainable development and related environmental considerations. 1997).8 Environment management.Artisanal small scale mining operations have their negative impacts on the environment and if these are not mitigated. biological environment (flora & 29 . The ISDR is an ideology which was created and designed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2000 to offer a global framework for action with the “objective of reducing human. The summits underscored the need for proper management of resources at local areas for the benefit of the global population and thus have developed fundamental principles on environmental laws (Zimbabwe School of Mines. Artisanal small scale gold miners as the major perpetrators of negative impacts must also take up appropriate measures and contribute to the effective implementation of the environmental laws. it is imperative that it continues whilst upholding the principles of International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) in which Zimbabwe is a signatory. 2. learn and practise environmental management in order to make as small a positive impact on the environment as possible. organizational and governmental level for the benefit of present and future generations. In this research focus is on the divisions of physical environment (physical landscape). Constanza (1997:56) notes that when assessing environmental impacts of artisanal small scale mining.

2008). misunderstood and fraught with environmental problems as is the case with Umzingwane district. It is unfortunate for Zimbabwe that artisanal and small scale mining has seen unprecedented numerical growth along its grey path in the mining industry as it is underdeveloped. It is also referred to as the set of methods to be applied by technical personnel to anticipate. In the process of achieving the objective and borrowing Nath‟s approach (1993). enhance food security. cities. It then means that where artisanal mining takes place. steps should be taken to ensure that there is net gain to the society as a whole and the gain should be long lasting so that some of the benefits can be transferred to future generations.9 Prevention and Management of artisanal small scale mining Zimbabwe National Environmental Policy and Strategies. soil and the physical landscape. prevent or mitigate environment damage from facilities and processes that impact on the environment. protected areas and deserts. there are three perspectives of environment management which are firstly. Small scale 30 . acceptable measures put in place to minimize adverse impacts on the environment. Environmental management therefore is concerned with the long term conservation of natural systems with their present output so as to prevent further damage of the ecosystem. secondly.fauna) and chemical environment (chemical elements). These approaches help in achieving Zimbabwe‟s National Environmental Policy thrust which is to avoid irreversible environmental damage. 2. and lastly. reduce poverty and improve the general standards of living of all Zimbabweans. It is therefore imperative for everyone to exercise responsibility in using the environment and in protecting it as many necessary human and economic activities do change the environment significantly (UNEP. the ecosystems approach that considers various environments such as coastal areas. the instrument approach for implementation which covers various tools for measures of managing the environment systems. 2009:17 stresses the greater need for prevention and management of the ecological threats posed by artisanal gold mining. Dreschler (2001) contends that exploitation of resources through artisanal mining which depletes the non-renewable resource should be allowed provided there are reasonable. maintain essential environmental processes. and preserve the broad spectrum of biological diversity so as to sustain the long term ability of natural resources to meet the basic needs of people. the compartmental approach that considers impacts on water.

Finding ways to address the environmental impacts of mining at this scale poses a challenge to all involved. Bhebhe (2009:31) proposes that dust bonding materials like molasses must be used to control dust emissions. 2009:17). capital. Mining needs to be environmentally sustainable and thus there is need to continuously require environmental impact assessments for artisanal small scale mining projects so as to identify. The EIA provides for the collection. equipment and know how to anticipate and manage adverse environmental impacts of their activities. a management plan that he argues should be compulsory for all those involved in mining operations in Zimbabwe and it includes:      Hazard identification and control Monitoring and reporting of industrial accidents Training and education of miners in first aid Industrial accident protocol Fire safety and prevention. The ears must also be protected from noise pollution by use of ear plugs to prevent damage of ears from noise above the recommended 85 decibels. To control air pollution from dust emissions there is need to sprinkle water on loose soil. ore material and roads so as to suppress the dust particles. prevent. 1941:1). mitigate or offset adverse onsite and offsite environmental and social impacts of such projects (Zimbabwe National Environmental Policy. When the air is dusty and filled with toxic fumes. analysis and interpretation of information with the main purpose of the economic analysis being the efficiency with which resources including the environment are used to meet community preferences (James. Once the adverse impacts have been identified artisanal miners should therefore be encouraged to develop. Bhebhe (2009:31) proposed in his research. Bhebhe (2009:31) notes that inhalation of 31 . development of respiratory diseases is inevitable due to inhalation. implement and sustain environmental management plans including provisions for periodic review where necessary. Measures are needed to ensure that positive economic benefits of mining at such a scale are not outweighed by its negative impacts on the environment hence the assessment of the impacts of ASM in Umzingwane district.miners do not have the organization.

32 . but the problem is that small scale mining and particularly artisanal mining in most SADC countries is not legally recognised and the sector‟s production and marketing figures are not always captured by national statistics (Shoko. be reduced drastically or eliminated by the following measures:     Provision of respirators for both gas and dust Controlled deforestation to cause as little vegetation destruction as possible around the working site Sitting the workers quarters as far enough as possible from the working area Provide chest X-rays for those involved in the activity. 1976) 2. which is the representative body of the mining industry. Such measures will reduce the risk of lung-impregnated diseases of the people working within the area (Occupational Health Act. Formalisation of the industry may be viewed as one way to assist miners in breaking out of subsistence mining and the poverty trap. major aim being maximizing household welfare and reducing household risks (Dreschler.10 Challenges for Natural Resources Management 2.1 Inadequate Institutional Framework The nature of artisanal small scale mining is mainly governed by subsistence mining practices. The principal institutions in the mining industry in Zimbabwe are:   The Ministry of Mines and Development. which is the parent ministry dealing with mineral exploration.irrespirable dust has been shown to be in direct proportion to the total load inhaled over a period of time and is a function of:    The dust particle size The concentration of particles in the atmosphere The duration of exposure These should however. processing and marketing. The Chamber of Mines. 2005).10. mining. 2001).

The subsistence nature of ASM indicates that the small scale mining sector consists of financially challenged or less privileged people who will continue their activities whether or not they exist legally. which claims to have a membership of about 5.000. The National Miners‟ Association. and the affiliation conditions are restrictive to entry by the small scale miners. representing small scale women miners. The associated Mine Workers of Zimbabwe (an arm of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions) which represents the interests of mining employees.000 artisanal miners. The Zimbabwe Women‟s Trust. does not adequately represent the broad membership because there are over 100. in its present constitutional form does not and cannot represent their interests (Carr. The existing institutional framework is inadequate to support the development of small scale mining in Zimbabwe. Laurence & Svotwa. with the result that some formally registered small scale mines can operate for years before an inspector of mines pays them a visit. small scale miners and local communities). Small scale miners often do not know where to go in order to obtain the service and/or assistance they may require. which most SADC economies cannot afford. The lack of an adequate institutional framework has led to lack of recognition of ASM. 1998).000 are members of the AMWZ (Carr. 1998). and it stems from a lack of a clear or the existence of a skewed cost-benefit structure among the main stakeholders (government. The Chamber of Mines only represents mines affiliated to it. The migratory and scattered nature of the operations would require a very well resourced legal and institutional framework to enforce any stringent regulations. 33 . Laurence & Svotwa. of whom 7. Zimbabwe in particular. The small scale miners feel that the Chamber.   The National Miners‟ Association (formerly The Small scale Miners Association of Zimbabwe). For example the location of the Ministry of Mines and Development offices throughout the country has been designed to reach the large mines.000 workers employed formally in small scale mines throughout Zimbabwe. The Associated Mine Workers of Zimbabwe (AMWZ) estimates that there are over 10. Shoko (2005) argues that the financial requirements for environmental management are well beyond the reach of most if not all small scale miners and they would need less stringent laws and regulations to operate profitably. which represents the views and aspirations of small scale miners.

Demand for scarce natural resources or consumption of raw materials and the pollution generated by the rising living standards of the relatively affluent has always put strain on the environment resulting in environmental stress. the effects of their negative environmental impacts are felt by local and distant users of environmental services while national governments and/or non-governmental organisations have to pick up the cost. always too late and too little. and in growing numbers. Small scale miners. They are the first to know about changes in the environment and yet they are the last to be asked or consulted.2. On the contrary Shoko (2005) argues that poverty pollutes the environment to a comparable extent.10.2 Environmental protection versus economic empowerment An interesting issue to note is that of a set of competing and conflicting values on environmental protection against economic empowerment or poverty alleviation. 1987) lamented that the most they have learned (local communities) to expect is to be compensated. they will overuse marginal land. and their impoverishment of the environment further impoverishes them. They are the gate-keepers of success or failure to husband their resources. their livestock will overgraze grasslands. The president of the Native Council of Canada to the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED. 2005). UMzingwane community is not an exception as it has suffered the ills of land degradation and environmental damage as a result of gold panning activities which have increased rapidly with the introduction of black empowerment policies. 1987. It is noted poor people are forced to overuse environmental resources to survive from day to day. making their survival even more difficult and uncertain. Shoko (2005:2) argues that the: …indigenous people are the base of the environmental security system. they will crowd into congested cities. in Shoko. Shoko (2005) further contends that these people will cut down forests. The „tragedy‟ of the management and use of the natural environments is usually rooted in the nonconsultation and non-involvement of local communities in decision making processes by central and even local governance structures. are nomadic. and particularly alluvial panners. 34 . (World Commission on Environment and Development. They are seldom asked to help avoid the need for compensation by lending their expertise and consent to development. This means that the poor and hungry often destroy their immediate environment in order to survive.

Although small scale mining has been credited with the advantages of operating small mineral deposits that are uneconomic to large scale miners who use appropriate technology, employment creation in remote areas, small initial capital and infrastructural requirements as well as short lead time from discovery to production, the tradeoffs have been low incomes due to inefficient mining, processing and marketing of minerals. There has, however, been widespread poverty of small scale miners as such. Such low incomes have resulted in over dependency on nature for fuel, food and infrastructural constructions. This has also meant poor housing and sanitary facilities for the miners. The overall result is increased rates of deforestation, siltation, pollution of water bodies as well as poaching of fish and wildlife (Shoko 2005).

2.11 Environmental, economic and social costs and benefits
Artisanal small scale gold mining is believed to form the economic backbone for some developing countries in the world today where it is practiced and the assumption is that it contributes about one quarter of the world‟s gold output, Lacerda (1997). In Zimbabwe gold panning is estimated to provide employment to a population of about 350 000 and livelihoods to more than two million people. Furthermore, Dreschler (2001) contends that small scale miners are capable of producing up to ten tonnes of gold per year but unfortunately, that gold and revenues go unaccounted for, and the operations in their present state have no guaranteed sustainability the quality and the degree of wise management and exploitation of common property resources such as gold should be based on the overall distribution of costs and benefits, that is, social, economic and environmental among the stakeholders. Shoko (2005) puts across that the socio-economic benefits (employment and income generation) of small scale mining environment are seriously outweighed by devastating environmental costs or negative impacts. The irony of it is that the impacts are externalities due to the fact that these costs are usually borne by communities downstream of the mining operations. Communities forced to bear the costs are neither involved in mining operations nor enjoying the mining benefit streams. In the case of Umzingwane district, depletion of water sources as a result of increased siltation is mainly felt by surrounding communities like Bulawayo City and Umzingwane district centre. The drying up of major dams like Inyankuni, Upper Ncema, Lower Ncema and Umzingwane dams lying along Insiza and Umzingwane rivers (where alluvial gold mining
35

activities are high) has forced the Bulawayo City Council to bear the cost of alternative water sources such as drilling of boreholes increasing expenditure in the process (Mabiza, et al.,2002). In the same vein, small scale mining sector does not compensate the local communities for the loss of common property services. For example in a survey conducted by CPWF in 2010 in Umzingwane one woman lamented having lost her plot to gold mining as panners destroyed her farming land and left her landless and destitute in their bid to eke a living. Similarly, Milne and Marongwe, (1995) in a study done in Zimbabwe (Mashonaland, West Province) on the economic and environmental costs and benefits indicated that alluvial gold panning is uneconomic when a full range of economic, social and environmental costs are pitted with the number of limited benefits. Shoko (2005) views the distribution of costs and benefits as an important aspect for policy makers. Policies considerations in most cases seek to have beneficiaries compensating the losers for externalities. Thus if this viewpoint is anything to go by a study of gold panning impact analysis in Umzingwane district will assist policy makers in coming up with policies that take into consideration of the costs and benefits of artisanal gold mining, putting in place and effecting laws that will allow panners to engage in their activities taking responsibilities of their actions. At the present moment it is clear that artisanal gold miners in Zimbabwe do not pay for the social and environmental externalities incurred downstream communities, they simply receive a lion‟s share of the financial benefits of their activities. In most cases it is the governments which bear most of the costs, yet they do not recover anything from panners by way of taxes (Shoko, 2005). In a way they are violating the economic principles which require all beneficiaries of a service to bear costs in order to achieve a state of equilibrium. This unjustifiably increases government expenditure and increased expenditures mean a serious cost to society at large. Shoko (2005) argues that costs to society include either increased internal borrowing or upward pressure on domestic interest‟s rates, increasing external borrowing and pressure on balance of payments, or difficult trade-offs by reducing spending in other programmes such as health or education. Once funds are borrowed then there is a question of debt servicing and the impact this has on current expenditures must be raised. The gold panning situation represents a classic case of externalities caused by inappropriate natural resource extraction. Any policy formulation option for alluvial gold panning activities must take into account the fact that miners should take
36

more and increasing responsibility for their downstream negative environmental and social impacts within a more appropriate institutional and property regime.

2.12 Conclusion
Artisanal small scale mining plays a key role alongside large-scale mining companies because of its lower overheads and uncosted labour. Artisanal small scale miners are able to work on smaller and lower grade mineral deposits considered sub-economic by large scale companies hence, the massive contribution to gold production and economy in Zimbabwe. The sector creates employment and wealth to and within the rural communities. At the moment, the sector is fraught with challenges pertaining to health and safety, Land degradation depletion and pollution of both surface and ground water sources. Bold measures need to be taken to ensure that artisanal small scale mining is done in a way that is economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally or ecologically sustainable. Currently, the institutional framework guarding natural resources and the environment is fragmented and somehow confused making it difficult to implement measures aimed at reducing the damage by key departments and ministries in Zimbabwe.

CHAPTER 3

Research Methodology 3.1 Introduction
This chapter discusses methods and procedures used to collect data. The research study was based largely on qualitative data and relied on document review, interviews and observations for data. Primary data was collected mainly through observation, open ended questionnaires and
37

Measuring of siltation in rivers and dams for the research was difficult as there are many variables contributing to it such as agricultural activities like irrigation and animals (both wildlife and domesticated). Bulawayo City Council authorities and NGOs working in the community. local government and Umzingwane Rural District Council).2 Research methodology definition Research methodology. Bulawayo City Council .interviews with stakeholders. Information from published sources. To measure the loss of land area and the amount of vegetation cover. The data concerning aquatic life was obtained from records kept in the department of wildlife in the Umzingwane district. Interviews with the locals were also held as they are in close contact with the reservoirs almost on a daily basis. Efforts to get such data from ZNWA and Bulawayo City Council were fruitless as they have not done so since the inception of the dams in under the study area. household heads. Field visits and observations on the silted river systems and dams were carried out. mining departments. People engaged in the fishing business were contacted through interviews as their business has been affected. 3. In support of observations carried out. It was then supplemented by use of questionnaires which were distributed to selected members. the researcher quantified in terms of land area cleared by artisanal small scale miners. land destroyed and aquatic life. erosion. Interviews were held with gold panners. local statistics kept in various departments (for example ZNWA. UMzingwane catchment manager. deforestation and gold panning itself. vegetation disturbed. according to Miller (1979) refers to the planned sequence of the process involved in conducting the research. catchment chairman. Environmental Management Agency (EMA) authorities. on water levels in dams were used to try and deduce the magnitude of siltation that has taken place over the years. local leaders. Degraded land was also photographed where panning occurs for analysis. Interviews were earmarked for such data on the number of people trapped in shaft collapse. various websites and unpublished sources were used as well. mine departments. secondary data available from the Bulawayo City Council records and ZINWA. There are two broad categories of the investigation process 38 . To measure and quantify the amount of silt from artisanal small scale gold mining for this project was somehow an insurmountable task. government gazettes. Pictures of burnt areas were captured. catchment coordinator. Secondary data was obtained by reviewing existing literature.

shared subjectivity of the researcher and the 39 . contextualization. Quantitative research employs numerical indicators to ascertain the relative size of a particular phenomenon under investigation while qualitative research on the other hand employs symbols and words to indicate the presence or absence of phenomenon (Matveen. 2001). The quantities of moved tonnes of ore and waste were obtained from the artisanal small scale miners. 1980). about the social world being investigated by means of involvement and participation in that world through a focus upon what individual actors are involved in.that is the quantitative and the qualitative research (Matveev. The study adopted purely a qualitative approach that suits well a case study. People are a part of the ecosystem interactions and thus a social reality must be created and sustained through the subjective experiences of people involved in these interactions (Morgan. the logic behind it which made it possible and valid to draw conclusions (Oppenheim. The variety of data collection techniques used around the world fall under these categories (Oatey.3. 1999). This was used to broaden the scope of data collected. (Wimmer and Dominick 1997:84) 3.3 Research design and research instruments The term research design in this study referred to the basic plan or strategy of research. Quantitative aspects were however used through the administration of questionnaires to collect data on aspects like the size of cleared land and the area size disturbed by artisanal small scale gold miners since they are responsible for clearing extensive areas of natural bushes for firewood and infrastructural developments (Shoko.1Qualitative research Qualitative methodology was the major research design of focus in this study as it provided the much needed depth of the data. It is an interpretive paradigm focused on investigating the complexity. decode and interpret the meanings of phenomena occurring in their normal social contexts (Fryer. 2002). 2002). It is therefore for this reason that the researcher is instrumental and plays an active role in the data collection. 1992:6). Matveev. The method is concerned with attempting to accurately describe. 1991. authenticity. The strengths of a qualitative approach as noted by Hitchcock and Huggers (1995:12) are that it allows the researcher to learn at hand. This research is highly qualitative in that there is need of an interpretive paradigm based on the ecosystems interactions or interconnections existing in Umzingwane district. 3. 2002).

The analysis in turn assisted in 40 . smoothed and made problematic by people going about their normal routines. 1991). The target population (ZINWA and BCC officials) were elusive and not willing to give such information and thus interviews were deemed the best research tool as they allowed getting into the bottom of the matter. Denzin. 1997) argues that depth interviews are particularly effective where the study involves an investigation of complex behaviour or decision-making processes. In support (FAO. when the target respondents are difficult to gather together for group interviews. The approach assists the researcher to regenerate rich. 2002). (1984) names three characteristics of qualitative inquiry and these are firstly. attitudes and behaviour towards artisanal small scale gold mining as it occurs in its natural setting in Umzingwane district. interview was the most ideal form of investigating such sensitive information. The qualitative tools used include observations. the study of the interpretive principles that people use to make sense of their symbolic activities and lastly. It was for these issues that qualitative research was more relevant in this study because the focus is on the natural ecosystems of the Umzingwane District. (1989) contend that qualitative research is more likely to take place in a natural setting meaning that focus is on everyday activities as defined. gold panners and where the interviewee is prepared to become an informant only if he or she is able to preserve his or her anonymity. More so. (1971). Water is a sensitive area to discuss and thus the study of water quality demanded face to face interviews. the physical setting and a set of situational events that guide the interpretation of discourse (Matveev. the study of contextual principles such as the roles of the participants. enacted. for example. detailed data that leave the participants perspectives intact and provide a context for health behaviour. Qualitative research in the interest of this study allowed for obtaining more in-depth information about such phenomena as people‟s beliefs. government officials. In support of this viewpoint. Ting-Toomey. the study of symbolic discourse consisting of texts and conversations. archival research and interviews. farmers. EMA. 1983: 255 & Matveev. The qualitative approach helped in the comprehension of meanings people assign to phenomena and elucidating the mental processes underlying behaviours. (1985). These helped to facilitate the risk analysis process that was conducted. Lincoln and Guba. ZINWA. 2002). (Van Maanen.researched and minimization of illusion (Fryer. Marshall and Rossman. UMzingwane district is a water catchment area.

and generalisable in predicting the causal effect relationship. It can then be inferred that these methods ensure high levels of reliability of gathered information. the quantity of land or soil moved by artisanal small scale miners.determining the nature and extent of risk by analyzing the potential hazards and evaluating existing conditions of vulnerability that posed a potential threat to people. (2002). generalisability and reliability (Wenreich. 1996).2 Quantitative research Qualitative research in this study was complimented by quantitative data which helped to provide a complete picture of the research issue. as well as the analysis of physical. the quantity of fish that have been found dead due to the drying up of rivers and or contamination of water sources. The researcher is external to the actual research and results remain the same regardless of who conducts the study. In this research. 1996). They provide high level of measurement precision and statistical power. reliable data usually generalisable to some larger population. Cassell and Symon (1994) in Matveev (2002) argue that the concerns of the quantitative paradigm are that measurements are reliable. It should however be stated that though a qualitative paradigm was used. Quantitative research according to Matveev. Quantitative research is borrowed from the physical sciences that are designed to ensure objectivity. The quantification of these in this research was carried out by administering questionnaires save for the number of fish affected were pioneered for qualitative 41 . intensity. (Weinreich. The less precise but useful semi-quantitative approaches such as the questionnaire were used as well even if some researchers view it as decontextualising human behaviour. it was complemented with a quantitative paradigm to allow collection of as much data as possible. economic and environmental dimensions of vulnerability and exposure. (1988) involves counting and measuring of events and performing the statistical analysis of a body of numerical data. Smith. there are such aspects as the area size affected by artisanal small scale gold mining in terms of deforestation. social. The risk analysis was based on such technicalities of hazards as their location. It assumes that there is an objective truth existing in the world that can be measured and explained scientifically. frequency and probability.3. Thus it produces quantifiable. the standardised questionnaire they receive and the statistical methods used to test predetermined hypothesis regarding the relationships between variables. property and the environment on which they depend upon (Smith 1996). valid. 3. The techniques cover the way participants are selected.

Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. These people are in charge 42 . Local Government. officers from local government. users of metal detectors and those panning along river beds). This technique according to Kutar and Tilmaz. files and existing records from City Councils. The quantitative approach according to (Wenreich. The population was classified into three broad stakeholder groups whose perspectives the researcher felt were important to obtain in this study: artisanal small scale miners (include those working in stamp mills.head of department. ZINWA officials. (FrankfortNachmias and Nachmias. Rural District Council. ZINWA.5 Sampling Techniques The target population was comparatively too large to successfully examine under the time and budgetary confines of the study. ZINWA offices and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks were fruitless and they refused with the information. District Council. The researcher therefore employed a survey technique in sampling respondents and gathering information about ecological disasters associated with artisanal small scale gold mining in Umzingwane district. However.from archival material. efforts to outsource the quantity of dead fish from historical records. ZINWA. City Council stakeholders. BCC. (2001) provides feedback from the interviewee‟s point of view. These methods were conducted on a population sample discussed below. EMA. Bulawayo City Council and National Parks and Wildlife (heads of departments). Local government –District Administrator. 3. owners of stamp mills. EMA and the community. 1996) eliminates the researcher‟s own bias and subjective preferences. National Parks & Wildlife and local communities were referred as stakeholders for analysis purposes in this research whilst artisanal small scale miners are referred to as panners. National Parks and wildlife (NPW). There is the truth out there in the world about these quantities and thus how the quantitative research was incorporated in this study to verify them empirically on a set of data collected. It is a technique for gathering information from a large number of people who are spatially distributed in the geographical space for example panners. Government (head of department.4 Population The target population of the study included miners.Ministry of Mines and Mining Development) and non-mining members of the community. The government officials. and EMA. 3. ZINWA. Rural District Council (RDC). Bulawayo city council (BCC). RDC. National Parks and Wildlife and EMA. 1992).head of department.

of environmental issues and are the custodians of such information being sought after by this research. The use of the methods and tools in this research were justified by looking at their advantages and disadvantages. The researcher believed that they have knowledge about issues pertaining to the organisation and or community. 2001). Survey can be anything from a short paper and pencil feedback form to an intensive interview (Kutar and Tilmaz. The research only recorded formal interviews and their account is given under research instruments. the community included was carried out strategically in the sense that the research study targeted head of departments and community leaders. Basically. For panners the simple random technique was employed to select samples. The assumption is that every unit under observation carries the traits of the population from which it is drawn so much that decisive conclusions can be made from samples. 43 . It involved asking people questions. interviews. The researcher asked respondents about their attitudes and opinions. In quantitative terms. Some community members met in the area were also interviewed randomly. the total number of miners sampled was 117people. It was random in the sense that there was no certain structure followed in selecting artisanal small scale miners and strategic because miners and head of departments were earmarked for the research. either verbally in an interview or in writing by having respondents complete a questionnaire. It should be noted that there was some overlap among the three groups as one local community member interviewed was also an artisanal small scale miner. Sampling is the inclusion or exclusion criteria for certain components from a population. The research assumed artisanal small scale miners had similar traits and conditions and each one of them is believed to have represented the whole group. time and the number of people required for the project were the determinants of the sample size. For the artisanal small scale miners and some community members questionnaires and semi-structured interviews were done randomly with groups and individuals found on sites. Nyatanga & Zhanje 2002:18). existing evidence and questionnaires. Selection for stakeholder participation. four instruments used in this research to address the depth of the problem are discussed below and these are observations. head of departments (7x2) while the local communities (10) totalling to 140 respondents. An analysis of the costs. This therefore means that every group or individual found on site was deemed an eligible candidate to participate in this study. This study adopted simple random and strategic methods of selecting samples (Kwesu.

yet as a whole require a very good rapport to be established between the interviewer and the respondents. 3 stamp mill owners and 5 metal dictator users). Its behaviour however. the cleared land as well as the tunnels and open pits were carried out in this research.6 Research instruments The study used observational fieldwork. did not close out other instruments to be used as well. The researcher used a semi-structured set of topics to guide the discussion. The instrument was chosen because the study is of overt behaviour. To support the choice of interviews in this research. The instrument was used to describe setting. s. activities. 3. In observational research the researcher is mainly concerned with systematic observation of behaviour. Frey and Oishi 44 . the environment and the meanings of observed phenomena vis-à-vis the perspective of the participants (Bhebhe 2009:57) so as to get knowledge of the context of Umzingwane district. Wimmer and Dominick (1997:100) and Oatey (1999) argue that interviews are a suitable way to deal with sensitive or taboo issues.6.3. people. as it was imperative to ask people about their behaviours and opinions. depth interviews were used by the researcher.6. change in colour of water. a. Observation on such phenomena as siltation on the dams. potentially more open for discussion is acquired through observation of phenomenon. In this study interviews accounted for 16 people of which 4 were head of departments and 11 were miners (3 stamp mill operators.2 Interviews To uncover and explore deep seated emotions. 3. This research dwelt on naturalistic observation which involves making systematic observations of behaviour in the environment where artisanal small scale mining occurs. interviews and archival evidence from files and other records to ascertain themes arising from miners and stakeholders‟ perspectives. motivations and attitudes of such sensitive issues like water and soil quality.1 Observation Shishir. In this study observations were made in the natural setting so as to provide high external validity. These data sources were triangulated to demonstrate reliability in the study (Patton 2002). Questionnaires accounted for 14people of which 10 were the local community representing non miners and 4 head of departments as well as 110 artisanal small scale miners who were grouped into 10 groups of 11 people. Nichols (1991:13). 25 propounded that a broader range of information.

(Kuter and Tilmaz. The semi-structured type of interview using open-ended questions with the chance of probing further for greater depth in the respondent was used in this particular case study. They provided a large amount of detail since the researcher was able to cover more ground interviewing one person or a group. 2001). In face to face interviews the interviewer worked in direct contact with the respondent. digging up of riverbeds which results in siltation. For the purpose of this research a face to face interview that permitted the development of rapport between the interviewer and respondent was chosen.structured interviews afforded some degree of flexibility that allowed expansion on the given answer. Flexibility was apparent in the way the researcher changed the order of questions in response to the reactions of respondent. Wimmer and Dominick (1997:157) argue that the manner in which in-depth interviews are conducted allows information to be gained without directly asking for it and this was achieved in the field. It was much relevant especially for exploring sensitive research topics such as those concerning water quality and land degradation which is the main driver of the ecosystems. It was ideal to focus on the points of interest as opposed to closed or structured interviews defined by Nichols (1991:131) as a survey where the range of possible answers to each question are known in advance. The questions were designed in such a way that basically same information was obtained from the people interviewed as each person was given the same questions. Open-ended questions allowed the interviewer to probe deeper into the initial responses of the respondent to gain a more detailed answer to the question (Wimmer and Dominick 1997:156). Semi. The choice was influenced by the fact that the researcher assumed there is a certain amount of knowledge already known or an understanding of the ecological disasters associated with artisanal small scale gold mining for example the effects of deforestation.(1995:01) in Oatey. (1999) define interviews as: “…a purposeful conversation in which one person asks prepared questions (interviewer) and the other answers them (respondent)…” Jensen and Jankowski (1991:101) argue that interviews are useful in that they lead to further research using other methodologies like observation and experiments. It is for this reason that a more focused interview design was designed. The researcher managed to make friends as the 45 . Advantages of interviews The advantages that the researcher enjoyed are flexibility.

It allowed for rapid data collection and a very high response rate was achieved as respondents were found in groups. They were administered to 117 miners and 14 stakeholders and included 20 questions for ASMs and 29 questions for stakeholders. Disadvantages of interviews There was never enough time as interviews seemed to consume a lot of time during data collection and analysis. This freedom of respondents to answer anyhow gave them some feeling of being involved in issues affecting them hence more and new information was provided. Gold panners were asked to complete questionnaires in groups as they were found to be working as groups. Open ended questions allowed the researcher to probe deeper into the initial responses of the respondents so as to gain a more detailed answer to the question. 46 .interviews promoted and cultivated rapport with miners and stakeholders. 3. Respondents at times threw completely different light on certain issues that the interviewer had not considered. This research adopted both quantitative and qualitative methods of data acquisition so that both situations of qualitative and quantitative are catered for. Questionnaires Questionnaires are relatively easy and inexpensive to formulate. Group administered questionnaires This is another approach that was used in this research to survey gold panners in ward 20 of UMzingwane District in the area popularly known as “Foe”. analyse and communicate the findings. 1998 in (Kuter and Tilmaz (2001:66) define it as: “method for the elicitation and recording and collecting information” Questionnaires provided quantitative data whilst interviews provided qualitative data. The varied responses in most cases took time to analyse. They were used because they are appropriate for making statistical analysis.6. Brehob (2001) in Kuter and Tilmaz (2001:66) defines a questionnaire as “a form that people fill out used to obtain demographic information and views and interests of those questioned”.3. Kirakowski.

Non cooperation was also encountered with stakeholders some as they sought to protect their information. The data on the quality of water was not given deliberately as they said it was confidential to give to students studying outside Zimbabwe.3. and existing evidence (Shishir. The data from ZINWA that pertains to the impacts identified by the environmental impacts assessments carried out on the dams within the area under study was not available. This study is also not funded and as such. Data collected from the Bulawayo City Council pertain to the dam levels and statistics on the drying up of the reservoirs. 47 . They attributed this to the problems they always encounter with the police who would be in a bid to enforce law. It became difficult to quantify such phenomena as siltation. s. the information is highly regarded and protected. This research reviewed data from the Bulawayo City Council and ZINWA. In that regard winning the hearts and minds of this community was a challenge the researcher needed to overcome. It was found that there are many variables contributing to siltation such as gold panning.4 The use of records. and existing evidence The other method of data collection used in this research was the use of records. erosion. (1996) that it also has a tendency of decontextualising human behaviour in a way that removes the phenomena from its natural setting and it tends to ignore the effects of variables that have not been included in the model as some of its limitations. The other challenges encountered in this study were in the application of the quantitative paradigm.6. The problems faced during the study included hostility and lack of cooperation or participation by some artisanal small scale miners who regarded the researcher as an outsider and undesirable intruders. 3. Issues of water pollution and artisanal small scale mining are political in Zimbabwe and as such. files. 23).7 Limitations All research work has peculiar challenges and this study is no exception. Review of records of water capacities on the mentioned dams by ZINWA was carried out. This data was obtained from the existing files.a. The other problem noticed was that observed by Wenreich. files. the researcher had to bear the total costs despite her being unemployed. irrigation and animal activity.

observations. synthesized and patterns or themes were identified to make it possible for meaningful analysis (Leedy & Omrod. All formal interviews held after important themes were coded. The element of its semi nature means that the list of topics can be changed in the course of the interview depending on the reaction and response of the respondent.1 Introduction Data presentation and analysis involved a set of interpretive and narrative techniques. questionnaires and the review of existing evidence.3. Data was broken down into manageable units. Strategic and random techniques were used to select samples for the research study. The in-depth interviews were on a one on one encounter concluded at length that enabled the researcher to tackle sensitive and or partially embarrassing topics. Critical themes and patterns identified are discussed. ranked and their causal relationship effect with gold panning established. Interviews chosen include a semi structured type using open ended format of questions. CHAPTER 4 Data presentation and analysis 4. Description of the opinions of 48 .8 Conclusion Instruments used included interviews. A sample was chosen to represent the community under study. 2001).

Identification of themes emerging from raw data was achieved through an open coding system (Strauss & Corbin 1990). both stakeholders and artisanal small scale miners. observations and existing evidence were conducted with 140 respondents in Umzingwane district. The data from the interviews were compared to the results of the frequency distribution of the phenomena. The analysis starts with the identification of ecological impacts of gold panning followed by the identification of specific hazards associated with the activity. The frequency distribution graph account for the quantitative analysis. observations. which were used as a representation of the whole district of Umzingwane.1. but not much of. 4. The themes were listed and their frequency in questionnaires used to calculate the frequency percentage and a frequency distribution graph used to analyse. Themes relating to ecological problems of gold panning were identified from questionnaires. Data analysis was therefore carried out by calculating the percentage frequency of each phenomenon or theme using the frequency by which each theme appeared on the given questionnaires and interview. whilst the qualitative data was simply an analysis of the interviews and transcribing the themes in text.1 Data analysis The study used mainly the qualitative analysis as well as. This allowed for ranking the themes as per perception of each group. Traditional graphs and tables were also used in the analysis of qualitative data. There were two questionnaires used. Interviews were coded from (1) to (19) and discussed. gave such specific trends and phenomena. quantitative.respondents. whilst artisanal small scale miners as panners. ranking the themes in a hierarchical order to find out the themes that were much more pronounced. three stamp mill owners and five metal detector users). Questionnaires accounted for 14 people of whom ten were the local community representing non miners and four head of departments as well as 110 artisanal small scale miners who were grouped into 10 groups of 11 people. The graphs analysed 14 questionnaires from stakeholders and ten group administered questionnaires from panners. questionnaires. Interviews. one for stakeholders and one for panners. These were compared to come 49 . and interviews supported by existing evidence. The local community and head of departments were referred to as stakeholders. In this study interviews accounted for 16 people of which four were head of departments and 11 were miners (three stamp mill operators.

up with the most pronounced phenomena considered by both parties in cascading order up to the least. It shows their level of education. and the Forestry Commission. Table 4. observations and existing evidence were then used to support the findings from the questionnaires. Stakeholders‟ respondents included the Bulawayo City Council.1: Panners Profile Level of Education No schooling Primary level % 0 64 Duration in Gold mining 0 – 5 yrs 6 – 10 yrs 50 % 33 41 Nature of Engagement Full time Part-time % 26 51 . Figure 4. ZINWA. Male panners are at 68% while their women counterpart whose role is sieving and cooking is at 31%.1 shows the profile of gold panner respondents who were grouped into groups of 11 people. Table 4. 78% is the total of male stakeholders who responded whilst women representation is at 21%. duration of the period they have spent on the gold panning activity. National Parks and Wildlife Department.1. Interviews. Umzingwane Rural District Council. The findings of the study are therefore based on the data provided by the respondents. Ministry of Mines and Development.1: Respondents Demographic Profile From the graph. Umzingwane community. EMA. Respondents profile 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Stakeholder male Stakeholder female Panners male Panners female Age groups Frequency Below 18 18-25 26-35 36-50 51+ Total Respondents Figure 4. Only heads of departments were chosen for this study. The percentages given are a function of the total number of panners which is 117. and their nature of engagement. The following figures and tables illustrate one set of results of the respondents used in this research and it shows their age group distribution by gender and class.

specific hazards and the elements affected by the hazards. Observations show the gravity of these ecological disasters whilst existing evidence on the capacities of water.1 Ecological problems Stakeholders and panners acknowledged that they were aware of ecological problems associated with gold panning that have created certain identified specific hazards affecting certain elements in the environment. In the same vein interviews also sought out to identify if the same themes could be raised.2 Impacts of gold panning on the environment in Umzingwane district 4.Secondary Tertiary 32 4 11 – 15 yrs 16 – 20 yrs 17 9 Seasonally Occasionally 23 0 The main drivers behind engagement into artisanal gold mining were established as lack of employment. Figure 4. income from the precious metal and drought.2: Push and pull factors of artisanal gold mining 4. Lack of employment was ranked top with 90% from panners and 78% from stakeholders. These can be classified into both pull and push factors. Artisanal gold mining drivers 100 80 Frequency 60 40 20 0 Stakeholders Panners Push Factors Lack of employment Income Drought Figure 3.2.2 below is an illustration of the drivers. Pictures of dried up portions in the dams were taken and silt could be observed. dams now hold clearly indicate the small portion of space occupied by the reservoirs. a pull factor which is at 64% for stakeholders and 60% for panners.3) and social problems (Figure 4.4) and these are shown in the graphs below. and lastly drought. A multiple response analysis indicated both ecological (Figure 4. Both parties were issued with questionnaires requesting them to identify and list the ecological problems. The percentages shown in the graphs were calculated using the 51 . followed by income.

2 below. Ecological Problems 100 80 Frequency 60 40 20 0 Stakeholders Panners Ecological Problems Figure 4. these are outside the scope of this research study.number of times (frequency) they appeared in questionnaires expressed as a percentage of the total questionnaires in each series (stakeholders and panners). However.2: The Rank of Ecological problems Stakeholders Panners 52 .4: Ecological problems associated with gold panning Ranking the ecological problems from the figure above has the following results shown in the Table 4.3: Ecological problems associated with gold panning During the investigations carried out it emerged that Umzingwane district was also grappling with social problems emanating from gold panning as indicated in Figure 4. Table 4. Social Problems 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Prostitution Shaft Collapse Black Market Stocktheft Injuries Deaths Stakeholders Panners Frequency Social Problems Figure 4.4 below.

On the other hand the stakeholders are concerned with long term and secondary problems that are as a result of the risk accumulation process. The artisanal small scale miners are concerned with immediate problems such as deforestation. expressed displeasure about it as he pointed out that grazing was gone and cattle had nothing to feed on. for example siltation and land degradation. excavations and veld fires because those are the very first activities they engage in when panning. He explained that they did so because the metal detectors they used in their exploration activities could not dictate the metal on grass covered terrains and thus they had to burn the grass. He acknowledged that their livelihoods were at stake at the expense of quick bucks from gold. however. 4.Rank 1 2 3 4 5 Ecological problems Veld Fires Land Degradation Siltation Open pits Deforestation % 78 71 64 57 35 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 Ecological problems Deforestation Open Pits Veldt Fires & Soil Erosion Water Pollution Land Degradation & Gully Formation Desertification Siltation % 80 60 50 40 30 6 7 Water pollution & Gulleys Desertification& poaching 28 21 6 7 0 0 The table indicates that the two groups rank ecological problems differently. To consolidate what had been highlighted in an interview. a non-renewable resource (3). The responses indicate that both parties are aware of the impacts of gold panning in the district. He.3 Specific hazards identified in Umzingwane district In another interview it emerged that the illegal gold panners had embarked on. massive illicit behaviour of burning bushes and grass in search of gold (2). 53 . The whole of Umzingwane district had perished as a result of the miners (2). Similar sentiments were expressed by (4) who argued that fire as a result of gold panning had become a serious problem causing widespread damage to the environment. it was true that his counterparts were engaging in such activities as burning the forests (3).

Ward 20 was burnt inside out and the situation was dire. gold panners have cut down trees and opened massive excavations from which they move huge tonnes of soil every day.6. The researcher was shocked by the magnitude of environmental damage as a result of fires.5: Ward 20 severely burnt by the so called high profile. Figure 4. It clearly indicates the impacts of veld fires and the threat to the ecology. mechanized miners (Siduduziwe Phiri. The activities of artisanal small scale miners have destroyed the land tremendously (5). The situation confirmed the councillor and the panners‟ sentiments. They concurred with the councillor‟s statements that it was as a result of metal detectors. The panners. 54 . They also disclosed that they won 1. confirmed that almost 100% of ward 20 was in ashes. was taken while observations were carried out. The following figure. who were found panning along Umzingwane River in the same ward. Figure 4.After these two interviews the researcher went to the field in ward 20 in Umzingwane district.2 grams per tonne on average and that they sell a gram for R300 to illegal gold buyers outside the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe regulations(7). August 2011) In the figure below. Figure 4. a hub of gold panning activities.5. They revealed that they moved 44 wheelbarrows or 80 x50kg bags which are equivalent to four tonnes of soil every day (6).

These ecological problems mentioned are as a result of artisanal small scale mining rampant in the area. desertification. The frequency with which these hazards appeared in the surveys is shown in Figure 4. land degradation.Figure 4.6: Ward 20: Deforestation and excavations by Gold (Siduduziwe Phiri. On the other hand. mercury or cyanide. 2 km2. gulleys. land degradation. For artisanal small scale miners. 55 . 9 th August 2011) This area depicted in Figure 4. veld fires and deforestation. gulleys and land degradation are perceived to be having less effect. gulleys. miners had a slightly different perception of the intensity of these hazard risks. while epidemics. unsafe pits. They varied in terms of intensity as perceived by panners and stakeholders. unsafe pits. veld fires. siltation. veld fires are major threats while pollution. unsafe pits and deforestation respectively as the most prevalent problems. pollution desertification and chemical contamination were ranked low. deforestation.7 below. Stakeholders cited siltation. pollution. Specific hazard risks brought about by artisanal small scale gold mining have been identified by miners and stakeholders and these include epidemics.6 covers about 1000m x 200m which is 0.

soil. agricultural activities and aquatic life. air. flora and fauna. rivers. The graph (Figure 4. water. dams. grass. land. People. air.7: Specific hazards identified in Umzingwane district These hazards are of concern because they are a threat to the environment. vegetation.Specific Hazards 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Stakeholders Panners Frequency Specific Hazards Figure 4.4 Elements at risk Artisanal small scale miners and stakeholders were not only aware of ecological problems. 56 . hence high risk. Stakeholders continued to list water. grass. land and animals have a high frequency. agricultural activities. rivers and air. The elements identified included water. soil.8) showing the distribution of phenomena is given below and those elements considered as the most vulnerable are indicated by the percentage frequency as given in questionnaires by both stakeholders and artisanal small scale miners. soil. 4. dams. rivers. animals and people appeared to intersect in both parties. dams. people. as perceived by respondents. land. wildlife. but were able to identify the vulnerable elements from panning activities. wildlife. Elements like vegetation. They pose danger to such elements as land. agricultural activities and aquatic life while miners listed grass. soil. vegetation. animals.

8: Vulnerable elements identified in UMzingwane District In support of the hazards that affect the environmental elements. 57 . grass and soil were the major elements that needed protection from gold mining activities (8). He alluded to other factors at play that needed more research to be carried out. His main concern was the indiscriminate cutting down of trees. and thus trees. grass and soil as well as people had long-term effects and the department of National Parks and Wildlife had an insurmountable challenge (9). He lamented that one could not talk about wildlife outside its habitat. resulted in the gradual dwindling of wildlife species in the district despite the fact that there is Umzingwane and Lake Cunningham Recreational Parks. Other fish species had become extinct (9). veld fires and land degradation as he cited the long-term impacts of the activity. Reduction in fish catches as reported by fisherman had been witnessed. but could not be drawn to lay the blame on siltation as a result of artisanal small scale mining. especially when looking at sustainable use of resources. artisanal small scale gold mining resulted in the fragmentation of ecosystems (8).120 100 Frequency 80 60 40 20 0 Elements At Risk Stakeholders Panners Vulnerable Elements Figure 4. The breeding places of wildlife species had also been destroyed by veld fires caused by artisanal small scale miners (8).9 is proof of the observation made by the researcher on deforestation and general land degradation. veld fires and excavations affecting trees. Wildlife was greatly affected as animals fell into open pits that were left unattended by gold panners (8). He pointed out that fish species had dwindled. That. however. Figure 4. Deforestation.

On that cylinder there are two colours visible.Figure 4. July 2011 ) The scenario justifies the 100% percentage frequency of people as vulnerable elements to panning activities. The situation in the dam was pregnant with lots of answers to water shedding in Bulawayo. The section of the dam in the picture is the deepest end. Figure 4.9: Deforestation and land degradation by gold (Siduduziwe Phiri. The dams had been greatly affected by the activities of gold panning (2). It is the eastern part of the dam. There is a cylindrical structure in the water with a foot bridge attached to it.10 shows the water level in Umzingwane dam 9 September 2011 as observed by the researcher. It is where water authorities get in to measure water levels. A visit to Umzingwane dam was carried out to observe the situation in order to complement information gathered from interviews. 58 . a darkish and a whitish colour. There was great concern about the water situation because of the activities of artisanal small scale miners (2).

The issue of turbidity was also raised in an interview where the informant lamented the negative impacts of artisanal gold mining (10). It emerged that the impacts were already being felt as they manifested in the form of costs incurred from dam maintenance and water purification (10).10: UMzingwane dam: Eastern Section (Siduduziwe Phiri. The dam. September 2011) The dam is at full capacity when the level of water is just below the footbridge attached to the cylinder where the darkish colour ends. The two colours are as a result of the fact that the darkish portion always used to be covered in water. When at that level all the trees in the picture are submerged in water as that is part of the dam. The reasons he gave were that it was costly to purify the water from other dams due to turbidity as a result of silt and pollution from panning. 59 .Figure 4. The costs. made the Bulawayo City Council concentrate mostly on the Umzingwane dam because it was cheaper to purify the water from it (10). because the externalities of artisanal small scale gold mining were having an impact downstream. however. In recent times the vegetation managed to grow because the Bulawayo City Council is pumping more water from Umzingwane dam than any other dams in the district for supplying Bulawayo (2). he observed that the costs of purification were so high. It emerged from the discussion that 80% of water from Umzingwane dam was drawn by the Bulawayo City Council. Although he could not release the figures.

11: UMzingwane dam.central section (Siduduziwe Phiri. water pollution. as that could clearly be seen from the central part of the dam in Figure 4. For example siltation. artisanal small scale gold mining was ranked the highest. been greatly affected by panning as they were now feeling the impacts although they had not yet been quantified. it emerged that dams had. land degradation and deforestation were raised to be the most critical problems.12 below: 60 . September 2011) The central part of the dam is partly silted with an island of silt at the centre. Amongst drivers behind those environmental problems. The informant expressed the need to scoop dams because they had never been scooped since their construction in 1942 (Upper Ncema and Lower Ncema) and the latest in 1973.however. to a greater extent. In another separate interview (11). Figure 4. was not spared from siltation as well. Observations indicate that the dam cannot survive siltation as artisanal small scale miners are mining as near to the dam as shown in Figure 4.11.

However. The dead water in any dam is 10% of the full capacity (11).8 of elements at risk and the cost of its maintenance was reported to have escalated (11). how then did they know 10% of water was left? He indicated they had not experienced a situation whereby aquatic life perished because a dam had completely dried up. 09 September 2011) There were ASM mining activities upstream which interfere with the river system thereby reducing the water flow rate in the process (12). There is need to monitor the dam water levels to plan for shedding and determine the quantity of dead water in the dams that will sustain aquatic life. When probed on the issue that since they had not measured siltation levels from the inception of these dams. 61 . The data from existing files or evidence from ZINWA indicated the dam levels as follows (Table 4.3) at the end of the season.Figure 4.12: Panning activities near UMzingwane Dam (Siduduziwe Phiri. he expressed concern that it might happen in future seeing the rate at which land degradation was taking place in Umzingwane district. The dams were among the vulnerable elements identified by panners and stakeholders in Figure 4.

The water was muddy.13 represents the triangulated data on the extent of ecological problems from both panners and stakeholders‟ perspective. namely Umzingwane. INyankuni. The dam belongs to ZINWA and is in the same catchment area as the other dams herein referred. though the water test results were concealed from the public and the researcher. That explained why Upper Ncema and lower Ncema had huge quantities of water at the end of each season. it emerged that the city council dams. they indicated that such losses in aquatic and livestock life were reported in Umtshabezi dam sometime in 2010 due to contamination believed to be cyanide. 62 . The surface water area of INyankuni dam had reduced as a result of siltation and now held less water. It has a full supply capacity of 1.5 Extent of ecological problems The extent of ecological problems was captured in the information collected using questionnaires and observations. Figure 4. Lower and Upper Ncema had not suffered any losses to aquatic life due to contamination (10).3: The dam levels at the end of each season Dams UMzingwane INyankuni Upper Ncema Lower Ncema Years 2008 19% 14% 45% 63% 2009 24% 8% 65% 73% 2010 7% 0% 0% 51% 2011 15% 20% 30% 76% It was established that the Bulawayo city used up to 80% of water from Umzingwane dam because the expense of water purification from the other three dams was beyond its capacity due to turbidity (11). it was reiterated that Sheet dam in the same district was fully silted (2). 4. hence consumes huge quantities of purification chemicals. they had even left it out of consideration. In the ZNWA reports on dam levels. To support the problem caused by siltation. However.169m3 x 106 which is equal to 1 169000m3 of water.Table 2. In another interview.

14: Ward 20 100% burnt (Siduduziwe Phiri. deforestation as the third and land degradation as the fourth.14 below: Figure 4. siltation as the second. Veld fires were the highest and ward 20 was said to be wholly burnt. They ranked veld fires as covering a greater extent. The visit to the ward on that same day confirmed the reports by the councillor as shown in the Figure 4. August 2011) 63 .13: Extent of ecological problems The percentage frequency of respondents who said the extent of ecological problems as greater was high. Almost three quarters of the district had been burnt by artisanal small scale miners exploring for gold using metal detectors (13).Extent of Ecological Problems 120 100 Frequency 80 60 40 20 0 Small Medium Greater Don't Know Deforestation Siltation Land Degradation Disasters Respondents Perception of Disaster Intensity Figure 4.

but authorities claimed that it was well known that there as siltation as a result of artisanal small scale gold mining around the district (10). It was interesting to note that Umzingwane district covered 2 820km2 of which 20% was occupied by gold and that translated to only 564km2. Deducing from the observations made on site.8km2. The area covered is tabulated below: Table 4. however. One could not actually separate siltation from deforestation and land degradation as they were closely linked (Dolcemascolo. The quantification was. The person responsible for keeping that information was also said to be out of office.14. However.6km2 0. That then meant that there were 36 such places of same area sizes with artisanal small scale miners. it was noted that there were other factors at play contributing to siltation. it therefore meant that three trees per m2 translated to 300 trees affected per 100m2.8km2 of the 564km2. The visited areas covered only15. Three areas where artisanal small scale gold mining occurs.The average tree density per m2 was 3 (observation by the researcher). were visited by the researcher and the following observations were made in terms of area size affected. Table 4. 2004: 9). The quantity of trees destroyed in the areas covered translated to three million trees per km2 and thus 47 400 000 trees in total. Research revealed that there had not been any measurement on siltation.8km2 The total surface area observed was 15.2km2 15km2 15. and that it was difficult to account for quantities contributed by each factor.4: Artisanal small scale mining areas Area INyankuni Ward 20 Ward 6 Total surface area disturbed m2 3000m x 200 m 1000m x 200m 5000m x3000m Total m2 600000m2 200000m2 15000000m2 15800000m2 Total km2 0. Deforestation and land degradation ranked low in Figure 4. difficult as Umzingwane Rural District Council failed to retrieve records showing the total area size of the Ward.4 shows the area size affected by veld fires is greater than that of land disturbance. 64 .

it could be calculated that 172 000 tonnes of soil was moved every day by panners and processed in the water along rivers. They said it was also expensive to find. The only danger could be that of accidental spilling into the water system. the panners moved on average. This explains the lower response.In land degradation.15 shows suggestions from artisanal small scale gold miners and stakeholders how vulnerable elements could be protected from potential disasters that might result from mining activities Vulnerable Elements Protection Measures Education of panners Stopping gold panning Policing 60 Frequency 50 40 30 20 10 0 1 Protection Mechanisms Figure 4. From that number. Stopping artisanal small scale gold mining and backfilling according to the responses is not feasible or is difficult as long as root causes such as the economic situation and political climate remains the same in Zimbabwe. as the responses showed where their interests and gaps lay.15: Protection mechanisms 65 . The day was approximately 14 hours.15 that shows the tasks that need to be done to protect the environment. miners vowed that mercury was like gold to them and thus they recovered all of it for reuse. This then explains the results of the interview with the Bulawayo City Council that mercury levels were still within acceptable levels although he could not give out exact figures as that was highly regarded information (10). They assured the researcher that the hazard of mercury was contained (15). Figure 4.6 Protection of vulnerable elements Mitigation measures must be put in place to try and protect the environmental elements that have been identified to be at risk in this research. rivers could not survive siltation if the situation continued unabated. 4. In one site visited there were 43 gold panners found. Below is a figure. 4000kgs of soil per person everyday (14). Surely. Figure 4. This will help indicate the areas that need more resources as perceived by respondents. which then transported the residue downstream. As for the disposal of chemicals.

of the mitigation strategies that are in place. There was. Ministry of Mines Bulawayo City council Water Supplies ZRP EMA The structures in place need to be resourced to efficiently carry out their duties. 4. The Forestry Commission.15) shows that more resources need to be channelled towards education of artisanal small scale miners and policing. The policies are fragmented and need to be reconciled to pursue a common goal. and certain structures are meant to implement them. In an interview with the ZINWA. material and environmental losses of great magnitude making it difficult for such a community to recover without external assistance. Table 4. the regulations used. The 66 . the Wildlife Department and ZINWA are housed in different ministries and thus their interests clash in most cases.The graph (Figure 4. it emerged that they were so concerned about artisanal small scale gold mining activities. Below is a table. conditions of vulnerability and inability to cope with negative consequences of risk. These structures must work hand in glove. but it is different in Zimbabwe. material. Table 4.7 Potential disasters in Umzingwane district Disasters are a function of the risk process emanating from a combination of hazards.5. economic or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources”. According to the ISDR (2002:19) a disaster is “a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society causing widespread human. if not met with necessary conditions can result in huge disturbances of the normal operations of a community causing economic. This definition means that a hazard impact. Forestry Commission. National parks and wildlife Department.5: Mitigation strategies in Umzingwane district Mitigation Strategies Awareness Campaigns Council Rangers Policing Fines Regulations Rural District Council conservation by laws Government and council policies Statutory Instruments Ministry of mines and Minerals Act Regulatory Authorities EMA. but expressed that it was beyond their capacity in terms of resources (16). however. need for implementation of policies and regulatory frameworks to curb these activities to save the collapse of the environment (16).

One could 67 .16 below: Potential disasters in UMzigwane District 120 100 Frequency 80 60 40 20 0 Stakeholders Panners Disasters Figure 4. That explained the magnitude of loss of human lives and injuries. This is because these are immediate to them. They are directly affected by deaths and injuries. economic. as well as ecological disasters. it also emerged that in July 2011 a family of four perished as a result of shaft collapse (18).8 Conclusion Inferences from data analysis indicated that artisanal small scale gold mining in Umzingwane district was a serious phenomenon likely to result in numerous disasters that included social. On the same note.16: Disasters in Umzingwane district as perceived by respondents Figure 4. panners revealed that they had buried a fellow panner on the 21st of the same month that died due to a shaft collapse (18). when the researcher went out for observations on 23 September 2011. 4.16 shows social disasters as well and their magnitude which is higher than panners. In another interview it emerged that 20 panners were again buried along Umzingwane river in the year 2010 (17). An Umzingwane Rural District Council informant expressed concern about the costs incurred by the council when burying people without relatives who died due to shaft collapse (19). Similarly.associated disasters that artisanal small scale gold miners and stakeholders highlighted are shown in Figure 4. The ecological disasters were likely to occur from hazards posed by gold mining if nothing was done to reduce their adverse impacts. In November 1992 more than 20 gold panners along Umzingwane River were buried when it rained upstream.

Umzingwane district stands to be affected by uncharacteristically high severity or excessive frequent fires causing excessive water runoff and erosion processes. This is so because the stakeholders and panners interviewed. It does not only affect plant species. It suffices to argue that veld fires are already a disaster as they have destroyed the habitat of various plant species and animals. veld fires and desertification. loss of biodiversity. Consequently. but the ecosystem as well since there is going to be an imbalance in the beneficial macro and microorganisms. 1985) which in turn may worsen drought impacts in the district. This is resulting in the extinction of plant and animal species hence disrupting the ecosystem in which different life forms exist and depend on each other. note that frequent and uncontrolled fires are responsible for reducing the vigour of the grass sward. This in turn increases surface runoff of rain water resulting in increased soil erosion in the process. It reduces the canopy and basal cover of the vegetation. At the moment it remains the major source of livelihood and income in the district since the area is affected by perennial droughts and lack of employment. destruction of ecosystems and exacerbate the spread of desert conditions (Carlson. flash floods and flooding at the landscape level as well as wind erosion causing further damage to the land. water pollution. The extinction of species affects natural processes such as decomposition. Loss of biodiversity is already felt in the district as a result of fires and land degradation. The ecological disasters likely to result from artisanal small scale gold mining are land degradation. Thus the cascading effects of veld fires also have a negative effect on soil acidity and alkalinity. Water quality and quantity may be affected by vegetation fires leading to increased water scarcity which is already a problem due to drought in the district.safely argue that artisanal small scale gold was already a disaster on its own in the district. epidemics. Deforestation loosens up the soil and allows free movement of water 68 . nitrogen fixation including photosynthesis as continuous burning interferes with the soil. Snyman (2002) writing about the problems of veld fires. There has also been widespread land degradation as a result of artisanal small scale gold mining which if it remains unabated. if the issue of use of metal detectors in gold panning is not addressed meaningfully. though not formally declared. complained that despite its major negative effects there was nothing they could do about it because it was beyond their control. Land degradation just like fire can lead to loss of biodiversity. may trigger or worsen more other environmental hazards in future.

69 . All these hazardous conditions are present in Umzingwane area and if artisanal small scale gold mining is allowed to persist with its cascading effect coupled with lack of mitigation measures the district faces a high risk of being hit by numerous ecological disasters in the future of which some of them are already encroaching slowly. Carlson (1985) notes that upstream deforestation contributes significantly to increased rates of sedimentation supply and accretion.hence high velocity which may further damage the landscape.

It emerged from the research that stopping artisanal gold mining at the moment is not a viable solution since people are being forced into the activity mainly by lack of employment. The government and Umzingwane community therefore needs to come up with strategies that seek to reduce destruction of the ecological system. penalties. Such strategies as discussed below include policing. and water pollution may appear insignificant to some populations. The cascading effects of veld fires. First and foremost it is necessary to have a policy aimed at mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in all artisanal small scale gold mining activities. no one wants to be involved in problems pertaining to such an activity because it is deemed illegal. soil are non-renewable economic resources that man depend on for survival. 70 . provision of mining licenses at affordable fees. equipment. drought and general poverty affecting the whole country. land degradation. taxes. Thus for man to continue enjoying these benefits sustainable means of exploitation are crucial. Gold mining seems to be the only meaningful income generating project in this district. It needs to be stated that such environmental elements under threat as water. Therefore there is a need for a collaborative effort amongst key ministries and stakeholders concerned with land and natural resources to come together and come up with a policy that will guide prevention and mitigatory plans in artisanal gold mining activities. training and environmental awareness campaigns and education to both informal and formal small scale gold miners: Policing – currently in Zimbabwe there are no clear rules and regulations governing gold panning operations. but are real and their cumulative effect needs to be mitigated to reduce their impact on Umzingwane district and the Zimbabwean community as a whole. However.1 Recommendations In light of the foregoing discussion it is clear that artisanal small scale gold mining in Umzingwane district poses a serious threat to the ecology which in turn jeopardises human lives and their livelihoods if the problem remains unabated.CHAPTER 5 Recommendations and Conclusion 5. land. ignoring it is not helpful at all because it is something already going on in the country and it has got adverse effect to almost every citizen one way or the other.

the Zimbabwe Republic Police. Water Resources. Environmental Agency. Ministry of Tourism and Environment. However it emerged from the research that these agents are ineffective because they are under-resourced. Local government. Thus the Local government and the UMzingwane District Council need to take it upon themselves to organise training workshops for artisanal small scale miners in order to reduce associated disaster risks.In addition. Raising awareness and environmental education – the research indicates that most artisanal small scale miners are ignorant of long-term effects of their activities. This can be done or organised by the authorities from EMA.it is imperative to regularise and formalise all gold mining activities through licensing. Ministries of Agriculture. Licensing and giving permanent claims to panners . Umzingwane Rural District Council. Such a policy should be drafted after a consultation with all stakeholders to cater for their interest including the local community for everyone to have a buy in. Therefore there is need for extensive education to the local community about the environmental dangers and their long-term effects and conscientising them of the need for health ecosystems. Local government and local leadership. These involve Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. Such a policy needs to realise panners as the victims not as unruly elements so that they receive assistance due. that policy should be regulated and implemented through clear regulations and rules. To reduce unplanned destruction of natural resources panners need to be made aware that the environment is for future generation for them to mine with due care. Small and Medium Enterprises. ZNWA and Bulawayo City Council. Health. Blackman (2003: 21) underscores the need to involve all stakeholders for any project to be sustainable. Umzingwane District Rural Council. Bulawayo City Council rangers and EMA are the ones responsible for monitoring and protecting the environment from illegal panning activities. Panners need to be taught on the risks involved in chemicals they are using. Training – mining is an activity that requires a skill for it to be carried out sustainably. giving permanent claims and operating permits to panners to recoup some of the added costs in the form of taxes. Strengthening of already existing structures – at the moment law enforcement agents. 71 .

The government also need to create investor confidence so that investors can come and mine thus creating jobs for locals. They can also be encouraged to form cooperatives where they will mine sustainably and create formal employment. data analysis and presentation in the form of figures and graphs. Interviews chosen included a semi structured type using open ended format of questions to allow the interviewee to give as much information as possible pertaining to the subject. questionnaires and the review of existing evidence. artisanal small scale gold miners have to backfill their excavations. Land rehabilitation – to reduce land degradation and ecosystems disruptions. According to the requirements of the Forest Commission one has to plant two trees after cutting one tree. Panners have to be part of EIAs process so that they can understand and implement safer methods. Thus panners need to be encouraged to practise such ethics if the environment is to be sustained. 5. The element of its semi-nature means that the list of topics can be changed in the course of the interview depending on the reaction and response of the respondent.Thus they require reinforcement and close monitoring through follow-up structures established by UMzingwane Rural District Council. The study is mainly qualitative although quantitative research methodology was also used in data gathering and analysis. Taxes and fines paid by offenders should be channelled into projects that seek to mitigate against water pollution. The in-depth interviews are a one on one encounter 72 . This will go a long way in protecting wildlife and livestock from falling into pits. land degradation and loss of biodiversity in Umzingwane district. Mechanisation – through the Ministry of Small Scale and Medium Enterprises the government needs to offer help to panners in the form of loans.2 Conclusion This chapter is a summary of the research study done in Umzingwane District to establish ecological disasters posed by the artisanal small scale gold mining activities occurring within the District. safety clothing and machinery to improve on their activity. Views. Recommendations to alleviate problems linked to gold panning are also given. observations. opinions and attitudes of people concerning artisanal small scale gold mining and its impact on ecology was collected through instruments that included interviews. deforestation. The study contains the strategies used in gathering data from all stakeholders who make up key informants.

deforestation and digging of pits all over to be on the increase and expressed fears that such activities put the 73 . ZINWA and Bulawayo City Council authorities expressed concern over gold panning along UMzingwane and Insiza rivers and the surrounding areas as these activities were causing land degradation which tended to exacerbate soil erosion leading to siltation of their dams. Environmental elements such as land. Umzingwane Rural District Council. Deforestation and siltation were ranked by panners as the highest enemies of the environment and they assured the researcher that mercury was under control as they recovered all of it. only heads of departments were chosen to represent the organisation. soil. They were so concerned about the dangers of gold panning and expressed fear for their lives as they were at risk due to shaft collapse which had injured and claimed lives of many. siltation of rivers and dams. They cited veld fires from gold panning. but were not aware of its long-term negative impacts on the environment. ZINWA. police. Department of National Parks and Wildlife. Bulawayo City Council.concluded at length that enabled the researcher to tackle sensitive and/or partially embarrassing topics. They admitted that some of them were responsible for burning huge tracts of the land in search of gold reefs. and local leadership. water. Participants in this research included artisanal small scale gold miners themselves who were selected randomly. They noted they were already feeling the impacts as it touched on their budget due to increased cost in water purification due to turbidity. flora and fauna face serious damage if not total extinction and or alteration due to prevailing veld fires. water pollution and land degradation as a result of gold panning going on. Representation from these was chosen strategically. Local Government and the Department Mines Development. The research in the ecological effects of artisanal small scale gold panning in Umzingwane district was necessitated by the rate at which land degradation. deforestation and water pollution is taking place interfering with the natural ecosystems on the environment. Panners highlighted that they were aware of the problems created by their operations but are forced by lack of employment and drought prevailing in the district and the nation as a whole. Graphs and tables were used to represent information gathered in this research. Other stakeholders include EMA. community members.

They are of the mind that gold mining is slowly but surely leading to loss of biodiversity as land degradation. In a way if the environmental situation in UMzingwane District remains unabated. 74 . A water shortage suffocates all plant life and animal. However. The Department of National Parks and Wildlife note that artisanal small scale gold mining is disturbing wildlife and aquatic life forms. they suggest that the government needs to protect and empower panners so that they carry out their activities sustainably. Gold panning reduces volume of water leading to reduction in water for domestic. penalties. mechanisation. The activity is promoting quick drying up of water reservoirs. Extinction of plant and animal life forms as well as water scarcity is some of the impending disasters. raising awareness education on environmental issues are some of the suggestions raised that can be used to empower artisanal small scale gold miners. licensing. Policing. Villagers expressed similar sentiments and argued that their land was being affected greatly. as this does not solve any problem as long as the root causes remain in place. training. leading to loss of grazing land and their livestock as they fell into pits left open by miners. siltation and deforestation is impacting negatively on these life forms. Both stakeholders and panners do not view stopping of artisanal gold mining as a plausible measure to protect the environment. pollution and desertification conditions. Policy formulation.district and the nation at stake as they were worsening drought. For instance siltation uses up the dead water reserved for environmental purposes and aquatic life. the area is heading for the untold ecological disaster as a result of these numerous hazards created by artisanal small scale gold mining in search of income and livelihood. thereby impacting animal and aquatic life forms leading to death or possibly migration upsetting the natural equilibrium. and payment of taxes were given as some of the mitigation strategies that could be employed to enforce environmentally friendly practices by artisanal small scale gold miners. industrial and agricultural uses.

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Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee. (Report No. ZimVac rural household livelihoods survey. R. Study of small-scale chrome miners. & Dominick. 1997. (Unpublished report) Harare: Report for ZimAlloys. Zimbabwe. J. Mass Media Research: An introduction. Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management. Mine environmental management and protection: study guide..R. 11). Bulawayo. D. R. 1999. 2009. A. 2010. 2009. & Chingwena. National environmental policy and strategies. Distance Learning. M. Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management. Zinyama. Zimbabwe’ Fourth National report to the convention on biological diversity. 80 . Svotwa. 1997.Wimmer. Belmont: Wadsworth. M. Harare: Government Printers Zimbabwe. Harare: Government Printers Zimbabwe School of Mines.

. Demographic Information 1.. The information you provide will only be used strictly for academic purposes. No schooling 4. 51+ 3. District Code…….. You are invited to participate in this research by providing your views on the negative impacts of gold panning on the environment. (NB Tick where applicable) A.26 – 35 years 4..APPENDICES APPENDIX 1 Stakeholders Questionnaire QUESTIONNAIRE ID: . I am currently carrying out a research on artisanal gold mining in UMzingwane District.. Below 18 years 5. a student at the University of Free State doing a Masters Degree in Disaster Risk Management. Secondary level 4.. Sex: Male 2.Self employed (informal) . Self employed (formal) 81 Female 2. Participation in this research is voluntary and your confidentiality will be preserved as the analysis will only focus on the patterns in the data over a number of informants. Unemployed 2. Your contribution will help in completion of this study. Highest level of education 1. Age group: 1. No names or information about any individual will be published.Primary level 3. DATE OF COMPLETION: ………………… Introduction My name is Siduduziwe Phiri..Tertiary level 3.36 – 50 years 2..... Occupation: 1. 18 – 25 years 3.

explain: __________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ 9 Are you aware of any environmental/ecological problems caused by the activities of artisanal gold panning? 1. caused by gold panners? 1 Insignificant 2. Yes 2. No If yes. 6 – 10 years 3. State the most vulnerable elements on the environment:_____________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ 11. Yes 2. Yes 2. Is gold panning contributing to siltation of dams and rivers? 82 . What is your position in the organisation?________________________ 6. What are the specific hazards and risks associated with the gold panning activities? Rank them in their order of magnitude: ____________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ 13. specify: _________________________________________ B. Inapplicable 7. Are you aware of any artisanal gold panning taking place in this area? 1. Research Questions 5.No 2.4.16 years and above 8 Do you think gold panning has positive impacts on the people? 1.11 – 15 years 4.Smaller extent 3. What is the extent of deforestation in terms of area size.Don’t know If possible. 0 – 5 years 5. indicate the actual extent _______________________________________ 14. Formal employment 5. name them: ______________________________________________________ 10.Greater extent 4. No If yes. Indicate how long you have been in this position: 1. How do you think vulnerable elements given in (10) can be protected from further damage? Please explain: _________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ 12.Other If other.

1 Yes

2.No

If yes, specify on the extent _______________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ 15. Is siltation impacting negatively on the aquatic life? 1. Yes 2.No

If yes, specify the nature and extent of the impact: _____________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ 16. Are there any mitigation strategies in place against the hazards and risks given in (12)? 1. Yes 2 No

If yes, specify__________________________________________________________ 17. Are there awareness campaigns in place to educate the society about these hazards? 1. Yes 2.No

If yes, how frequent are they carried out? _________________________________ 18. Do you think it is important for panners to possess knowledge on environmental management and skills in their operations? 1. Yes 2. No

If yes, please explain: ____________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ 19. Are there any chemicals used by panners to extract gold from the ore? 1. Yes 2. No 3. Don’t know

If yes, which chemicals are used? ___________________ 20. In what quantities is the chemical given in (19) used? ___________ 21. Are there any recovery strategies of the chemicals used? 1. Yes 2. No 3. Don’t know

If yes, state how much is recovered, please specify: ______________________ If No what levels of toxicity have been found on the environment (soil, water, tree leaves? ___________
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22. Outside the ecological problems, what other effects have been encountered in the gold panning activities? 1. Collapse of shafts 2. Deaths 3.Other

If other, specify: ___________________________________________________ 23. Are there any regulations and policies governing artisanal gold panning activities? 1. Yes 2. No 3. Don’t know

If yes, specify: ____________________________________________________ 24. Are gold panners involved in any way in the formulation of these policies? 1. Yes 2. No 3. Don’t know

If yes, specify: _____________________________________________________ 25. Are there any structures in place to follow up on these regulations and laws? 1. Yes 2. No 3. Don’t know

If yes, explain: _______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ 26. What do you think the government can do to enhance gold panning operations? _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ 27. Are there any land rehabilitation activities in place? 1 Yes 2 No

If yes, list them ______________________________________________________ 28. Who implements these rehabilitation activities? _____________________________ 29. What challenges are faced in implementing the rehabilitation strategies? _________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

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APPENDIX 2 Panners Questionnaire
QUESTIONNAIRE ID: District Code…….. DATE OF COMPLETION: ………………… Introduction My name is Siduduziwe Phiri, a student at the University of Free State doing a Masters Degree in Disaster Risk Management. I am currently carrying out a research on artisanal gold mining in UMzingwane District. You are invited to participate in this research by providing your views on the negative impacts of gold panning on the environment. Your contribution will help in completion of this study. The information you provide will only be used strictly for academic purposes. Participation in this research is voluntary and your confidentiality will be preserved as the analysis will only focus on the patterns in the data over a number of informants. No names or information about any individual will be published. (NB Indicate the number of people in boxes) A. Personal Information 1. Gender: Male Female

2. Age group: (Tick where applicable) 1. Below 18 years 4. 36 – 50 years 5. 2.18 – 25 years 5. 51+ 3. 26 – 35 years

3. Highest level of education (Tick where applicable) 1. No schooling 4. Tertiary level 4. Other sources of income for the household head 1. Earnings (e.g. from agriculture) 4. Remittance from relatives 2.Salary 5.Pension S 3.Social Grant 4. Other 2.Primary level 3. Secondary level

If other, specify: ________________________
85

Lack of employment 4. Are there any land rehabilitation activities in place? 1. Research Questions 5. Other 2. Yes 2. 16 – 20 years 2. Indicate the amount of gold that can be obtained from a tonne of ore: 1. 51 – 100 kg 5. Other Specify: ___________________________________________________ 10. Have you received any training on gold mining? 1. 501 – 1000kg 2. No If yes. Technically 2. please specify: ___________________________________________________ 86 . Above 1 tonne 3. 1 – 5 kg 2.1 – 5 grams 5. Full time 5. Less than 50kg 4.101 – 500kg 11. Yes 2. What prompted you into this activity? 1. Income 3. How often do you engage in gold panning operations? 1.Part-time 3. 6 – 9 grams 12. What is you production tonnage per day? (Tick where applicable) 1. Other Specify: __________________________________ 7. How do you delineate your ore bodies? 1. specify: _________________________________ 8.Severe droughts 9. How long have you been in artisanal gold mining? 1. 0 – 5 years 4. Above 5kg 3. No 3.Seasonally 2.Guess work approach 3.B.11 – 15 years 6. 6 – 10 years 5. Other If other. Above 20 years 3. Occasionally 4. Less than 1 grams 4.

Yes 2. ________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ 19. What chemicals do you use to extract your gold from the ore? 1. Yes 2. what other effects have you encountered in your operations? 1. Collapse of shafts 2.13. Is it important to possess knowledge on environmental management and skills in gold panning? 1. please explain: ____________________________________________________ 14. What do you think the government can do to enhance your operations? __________ _____________________________________________________________________ 87 . specify: ___________________________________________________ 19. No Specify: ____________________________________________________ 20. please specify: ____________________________ 16. Yes 2. No If yes. Deaths 3. How can vulnerable elements given in (17) be protected from further damage? Please explain. No If yes. No 2. State the most vulnerable elements to environmental damage: ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ 18. Are you aware of any regulations and policies governing gold mining activities? 1. Mercury State quantities If other Specify: _______________ 15. Cyanide 3 Other If yes. Are there any recovery strategies of the chemicals used? 1. state how much is recovered.Other If other. Outside the ecological problems. Yes 2. Are you aware of any environmental/ecological problems caused by the activities of artisanal gold panning? 1. name them: ____________________________________________________ 17.

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