Government has banned all riverbed alluvial and riverbed mining on rivers with immediate effect, except on the Save and Angwa rivers where desilting will be allowed under very strict conditions.
Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Senator Monica Mutsvangwa announced the ban at a post cabinet media briefing.
“Cabinet considered a paper which was co-presented by the Ministers of Mines and Mining Development and Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry on the status of riverbed mining/drenching and the environmental challenges thereof.
“Having noted the challenges and the need to put in place measures to carry out sustainable mining operations in the sector, Cabinet directed as follows,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa also said those holding mining concessions will be given a grace period to be announced to obtain Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and State of Works Plan acceptance by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
“It was noted that the granting of a mining concession through mining claims and on special grant is not a license for resumption of mining.
“All holders of mining title are required to obtain approval of EIA and acceptance of Site Plan Works by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
“This position will be strictly reinforced by the two Ministries responsible for Mines and Environment,” she said.
She added that those who fail to regularize EIA and Site Plan Works will be deemed to be operating illegally and will be subject to stiff penalties which are being reviewed.
“The whole objective is to have all mining operations conducted in a manner which does not harm the environment. Stiff penalties shall be aimed at all those who are not complying with environmental provisions,” she added.
According to Mutsvangwa, mining on areas held by National Parks is banned with immediate effect adding that steps are being undertaken to immediately cancel all mining title held in National Parks.
The ban on mining in National Parks come after concerns raised by stakeholders and environmentalist over the drilling for minerals in the Hwange National Park by Chinese mining companies.