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Title: Impact of Chemicals used in Gold Extraction by Small-Scale Miners on the Environment: A Case Study of Gabriella Mine in Inyathi District, Mat North Province
Authors: Ndlovu, Coleen
Keywords: mining
Issue Date: Jun-2017
Publisher: Lupane State University
Abstract: Small scale gold mining has devastating impacts on the environment, such as deforestation, water and land pollution and poor use and disposal of chemicals that are persistent on the environment like mercury. These environmental impacts are a result of destructive mining, wasteful mineral extraction and processing practices and techniques used by the artisanal small-scale miners. This research explores the impacts caused by the chemicals (mercury and cyanide) used by the small-scale miners in extraction of gold in Gabriella Mine in Inyathi, Matebeland North Province, Zimbabwe. Methods of data collection used were field samples, questionnaires and observations. Most of the miners surveyed preferred mercury citied that it was easy to use. Water and soil samples tested indicated that Bembesi River which near Gabriella mine is polluted, with concentration of the chemicals well above the recommended limit of 0.01mg/l for mercury and 0.07mg/l for cyanide. Mercury which is mostly preferred by the miners has devastating effects on the environment in that in bio-accumulates and is persistent in the environment. The research concluded that reckless use and disposal of mercury and cyanide was polluting Bembesi River and the soils in and around Gabriella mine. There is a need for the Government to revise some of the laws and regulations as they are indirectly contributing to environmental degradation. This research suggested borax as an alternative to mercury since it a less expensive, environmentally friendly and captures more gold than mercury. At the local level, Environmental Management Agency and the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development need to conduct workshops to educate the miners on the proper use and disposal of the chemicals and also raise awareness of the dangers of the chemicals especially their long-term effect on the environment and their health
Appears in Collections:Department of Crop and Soil Science

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