Desilting set to Camouflage River Bed Mining in Odzi River: Nenhohwe-Odzi Subcatchement Area.

"The project that was awarded to Stromspice Trading to desilt and extract minerals in Odzi River is mired in controversy. The project comes at a time when government has already in acted statutory instrument 92 of 2014 of environmental management agency banning alluvial mining in river beds. The ministry of water launched a national desilting programme in 2014 and mandated the Zimbabwe Water Authority (ZINWA) to implement it. The then established commercial arm of ZINWA issued special licences to private companies to desilt and recover minerals from the silt with the intention of using dividend generated from mineral sales to fund the desilting programme. However, several companies engaged in this exercise especially in Mazowe River wantonly destroyed the river system in search of alluvial gold instead of desilting. The government blamed ZINWA for illegally issuing such special licences and stopped the whole desilting programme through a cabinet directive. The ZINWA act of 1998 established ZINWA as a self financing institution to manage Zimbabwe’s water resources in a sustainable manner. Thus the act empowers ZINWA to generate revenue through water levies and not mineral extraction. The mines and minerals act in its present form supersede all other acts once mineral resources have been found. Amendments for the mining act to provide stronger environmental protection for citizens in line with the new constitution have not been passed by government. However in the absence of the act, the ministry of water through Environmental Management Agency (EMA) is legally empowered by statutory instrument 92 of 2014 to stop any form of mining in the river bed."