Illegal gold panners are reportedly scouring for gold underneath the Shurugwi-Zvishavane Road, posing a serious hazard to road users, especially at Boterekwa escarpment in Shurugwi.
A senior Environmental Management Agency (EMA) official confirmed the development during a media tour last week.
EMA’s Midlands provincial spokesperson, Timothy Nyoka told journalists illegal gold panners had encroached into the main road, with some reportedly digging underneath the road that passes through Boterekwa escarpment.
“As you can see from this area where illegal gold hunters started their activities last September, we are about 10 metres from the highway, but you can see the damage to the environment witnessed here,” he said.
“There are other areas on both sides of Boterekwa Road which have been dug. There is even a high possibility that the gold diggers might have dug tunnels that run under this road. In short, we are saying Boterekwa Road is under great threat from illegal panners.”
Nyoka urged other stakeholders to complement EMA’s efforts to rehabilitate areas affected by illegal mining activities.
“We are saying let those who are caught in illegal mining activities be the first rehabilitators of the damage to the environment,” he said.
Shurugwi, is a small town located in the mineral-rich Great Dyke belt 33km outside Gweru. Minerals such as gold, chromite, nickel and platinum are mined around the town.