Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mining: Zimbabwe’s Achilles’ heel

Zimbabwe’s ecological well-being remains in a precarious position.

But it is the problem of acid mine drainage (AMD) that may be its most perilous hazard in terms of its ramifications.

AMD refers to the phenomenon whereby underground, highly polluted, acidic water flows outwards onto the surface, often, in very high dosages from abandoned mines.

It is necessary to comprehend that ecologically, Zimbabwe is a country that is bereft of water security, while on the economic front, the country is driven by a strong mining industry, most notably gold, and lately diamonds.

The decade-long economic collapse ensured the burgeoning mining sector came to a standstill as firms closed their mines, as a result causing insurmountable environmental disaster for communities whose lives evolved around these mines.

One would think of Harare’s water source Lake Chivero, Zvishavane, Gwanda, Chiadzwa, Bindura, Nkayi, Kamativi, Mhangura, to name but a few places.

Fighting the scourge of AMD becomes not only a matter of environmental importance, but also one of protecting vulnerable local communities that depend upon the country’s finite natural resources.

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