Artisanal miners in Ingwizi, Mangwe district, have been commended for the significant progress made in reclaiming over 175 hectares of land that was destroyed by illegal gold panning activities.

A gold rush that was experienced in Ingwizi in 2012 saw vast tracts of settlement, grazing and arable land being destroyed by locals and fortune seekers from various parts of the country.

However, interventions made by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and other stakeholders brought sanity in the area as local artisanal miners have since formed co-operatives and reclaimed the area through backfilling open pits.

“Following the intervention of EMA we managed to backfill 32 out 40 pits ,we fenced the area and registered as a co-operative. This has enabled us to get support from the government to improve our operations,” said one of artisanal miners.

EMA urged small scale miners in the province to emulate new generation mining co-operative, which has become a shining example of sustainable mining activities.

“The situation in this area was very bad as most locals had abandoned their traditional sources of livelihoods to venture into mining. When we came in we were very tough but we are happy that most of the land here has been rehabilitated,” said EMA’s Provincial spokesperson Mrs Sithembokuhle Moyo.

Through a loan facility extended to New Generation Mining Co-Operative, the 42 members have been capacitated with machinery to enhance gold production at the mine.

EMA has also a helped the community to rehabilitate grazing land through the formation of grazing land benefiting  310 households, while youths who are into brick moulding have adopted eco –brick firing to reduce loss of forests.