Runde Rural District Council (RDC) in Midlands Province is crafting an environmental policy which will complement existing laws in enforcing stiffer penalties on perpetrators of land degradation.

Much of the land under RDC’s jurisdiction has been degraded, owing to mining activities.

This has triggered the RDC, working with a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) named Center for Conflict Management and Transformation (CCMT) to craft a policy to complement the existing environmental laws.

Runde RDC Chairperson, Mavis Mahuvava said villagers are also losing livestock owing to un-reclaimed land.

“Miners are causing land degradation and, in some instances, villagers are losing their cattle in open pits,” she said.

Zvishavane Mberengwa Miners Association Chairperson, Mr Themba Sibanda called for the recognition of traditional leaders in the pending Mines and Minerals Bill to curb land degradation among nomadic small-scale miners.

“Land degradation is a problem in small-scale mining, but we believe incorporating traditional leaders in the Mines and Minerals Bill will help protect the environment,” said Mr Sibanda.

Mining operations have also resulted in the formation of slime dams and the disturbance of river processes, while chemical deposits have spelt doom to aquatic life.

Last year, government suspended chrome mining activities along the Zvishavane-Shurugwi highway, citing massive land degradation with operations only resuming after miners complied with the land reclamation policy.