Sunday, October 30, 2022

Miners and Zimbabwe Forests

Artisanal gold miners in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland Central Province have cut down thousands of trees to process gold ore.

In areas like Mazowe, forests have already fallen, thanks to the gold miners, and now the areas look like a mini deserts.

Forestry officials from the Zimbabwean government lament the constant loss of forests every year. According to the Forestry Commission here, this country loses 262,000 hectares of trees every year for different reasons.

Thirty percent of the forest is lost to illegal mining, says environmental activist, Monalisa Mafambirei.

“You speak of Mazowe as a case study, but, of course, this is not the only area losing trees to illegal gold miners. In fact, this problem facing our forests is widespread as gold miners are all over the country where gold is mined, and trees have continued to be the casualties as gold miners cut them down rather carelessly either for use when processing the gold ore or as they clear the land upon which they mine,” a government climate change said.

Environmental campaigners in this southern African country, like Gibson Mawere, blame the artisanal gold miners for fanning deforestation in the country.

“Illegal gold miners are unregulated, and they cut down trees, clearing areas on which they mine for gold, and also they use firewood to then process the gold ore because you should remember that these miners have no access to electricity nor coal to use in place of firewood.”

Gold miners like Makwati and his cousin place the blame on the country’s struggling economy.

“If we don’t cut the trees, we will have no money at the end of the day. We use fire from the trees we cut to process the gold ore before we sell pure gold. With formal jobs, we wouldn’t be harming the environment nor destroying trees,” Makwati, a miner explained.

Artisanal Miners Ruining Already Diminishing Forests in Zimbabwe | Inter Press Service (

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