Zvishavane — The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has given chrome miners operating along the Zvishavane-Shurugwi highway a month to rehabilitate the pits which are close to the roads amid concerns these may destroy the road infrastructure.
Last week, government stopped chrome miners who were operating along the highway due to concerns that the mining activity was threatening the highway and putting humans and livestock at risk.
Government parcelled most of the chrome claims which were ceded by Zimasco and Zimalloys to small scale miners in an effort to increase Ferrochrome production in the country.
EMA Midlands Provincial Education and Publicity Officer Simon Musasiwa said the miners have been given a month to rehabilitate the pits.
"We issued the miners with orders to rehabilitate the pits according to the government directive," said Musasiwa.
"The orders are usually for 21 days to a month and we will be making a follow up after the order lapses to check if the miners have complied, if not then we will take legal action."
The Zimbabwe Miners' Federation (ZMF) - the small-scale miners representative body - admitted that the environmental laws were violated by the miners operating in the area.
"We did survey the area and we discovered that the strategy that was being used by the miners was violating the country's mining laws.
"In some way, government took a good decision to stop the operations so that they adopt the proper mining operations," said ZMF General Council chairperson, Makumba Nyenje.
Nyenje said they will be engaging the miners to ensure that they adhere to proper mining practices.
"We will be convening a meeting with mining associations in Zvishavane on Thursday to educate each other as miners on mining safety and responsible mining practices and on Friday we will be convening a general council meeting to address some of these issues from a small scale and artisanal mining sector,' said Nyenje.
According to figures released by the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), chrome ore production increased to 139 562,34 tonnes in the first quarter of the year, compared to 18 701,70 tonnes produced during the same comparable period last year.