Newly appointed Midlands provincial affairs minister Senator Larry Mavima has revealed that senior government officials are involved in chrome mining activities that have caused serious environmental damage in Zvishavane.
Goovernment recently suspended mining along the Zvishavane-Shurugwi highway as the activities were now threatening the road infrastructure.
Speaking after touring the area at the weekend, minister Mavima said it was disappointing that senior government officials were responsible for the damage to the environment.
"I am terribly disappointed at what I saw, people have total disregard of the environment and the law," he said.
"We have seen very senior people in government who own claims continuing to mine and cause environmental degradation in our communities and mining very close to the road which cause a danger to our infrastructure and also to motorists."
Minister Mavima warned miners who do not comply with the government directive forcing them to rehabilitate the land, that they risk losing their claims.
"I urge all those who have claims along the Zvishavane-Shurugwi highway to comply with the law and start mining where they are supposed to mine and not anywhere close to the road," he said.
"If they fail to abide by this directive we will be left with no option but to shut down their operations.
"This is for the good of the community, we cannot protect the poor and those that have their domestic animals that roam around and can fall into these deep gorges".
The coming in of small-scale chrome producers has seen an increase in production levels.
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.