HomeNews70 cyanide tanks demolished, 21 arrested

70 cyanide tanks demolished, 21 arrested

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Twenty illegal miners have been arrested, while 70 tanks containing active cyanide were destroyed by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) in gold-rich Makaha, Mudzi.

By Jairos Saunyama

The suspects have since been taken to court on charges of storing hazardous substances that have detrimental effects to the environment.

NewsDay last year published a story on the existence of “cyanide barons” in the area.

The illegal cyanide barons were operating without Environmental impact assessment (EIA) certificates.

EMA Mashonaland East provincial spokesperson Astus Mabwe confirmed that they had demolished a number of cyanide tanks, saying villagers had refused to name the owners of the tanks.

“But we demolished all illegal cyanide tanks, while more than 20 people were arrested and taken to court. We hired equipment to demolish the tanks for the good of the people and their surroundings.”

“A total of 38 inspections were carried out, 35 sites with 70 cyanidation tanks were inspected and tanks were demolished together with associated infrastructure such as carbon rooms and return ponds because they did not have EIA
certificates and licenses for hazardous substance storage and use from the agency,” read an EMA report gleaned by NewsDay.

According to the report, six cyanide drums were confiscated from four sites, while 20% of the illegal cyanidation tanks were located 30 metres from water sources.

Fourteen of the suspects were convicted and fined $250 each, while a three-months’ jail term imposed on each of them was wholly suspended on condition that they would not commit a similar offence in the next three years.

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