SHURUGWI: Farmers in Shurugwi have expressed concern over cyanide used by artisan miners in the area to process gold saying the poisonous substance was killing their livestock.
A farmer in the area, James Chitongo said gold panners use the hazardous substance to process gold ore in nearby streams and rivers.
“After using this harmful substance and depositing it in water bodies, cattle end up drinking the contaminated water. Personally, I have lost two cattle to poisoning and this is a huge loss to me,” he said.
Another farmer, Netsai Moyo said although they had reported the issue to community leaders and police, ‘little had been done against the perpetrators.’
Midlands Environmental Management Agency (EMA) spokesperson, Oswald Ndlovu said EMA made frequent raids on the illegal miners but they (miners) continued with the bad environmental practice.
“They use hazardous substance as well as mercury to process their gold ore and, in the process, badly damaging the environment,” said Ndlovu.
He also added that EMA’s efforts need back up from law enforcers.
A local security company, Dicksteph Security manning some mines however said farmers are also to blame as CommuTalk is told that they let their cattle roam around processing plants.
“Its sad people are losing their cattle but owners should also make sure that their livestock do not get to processing plants. They also need to be responsible on the other hand,” said the company’s director Dickson Chioko.
The most significant effects of cyanide exposure occur in the nervous system, especially in the brain. Acute-duration inhalation of high concentrations of cyanide provokes a brief central nervous system stimulation followed by depression, convulsions, coma, and death in humans and animals.