Broadcasting Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, yesterday informed us yesterday about the governments’ growing concern over potential infrastructural and economic damage illegal miners pose to the country. In a statement to the media, she said
“In the area operated by the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Railway, artisanal miners have dug pits within the three metre radius of the railway line”
According to the minister “this has the potential of weakening the railway infrastructure, leading to potential derailment and damage to the track.”
The Zimbabwean Government is expected to send security forces and pose stiffer penalties to illegal miners in order to stop the damage on the railway line.
Mutsvangwa said, “Cabinet approved the deployment of special security operations to deter artisanal mining activities along the Beitbridge-Bulawayo Railway line.”
“Cabinet further directed that law enforcement be intensified in all areas and further security enhancement measures instituted to ensure that no further costly damage of strategic communications infrastructure and derailment of economic activity caused by illegal artisanal mining activity persists.”
“Stiffer penalties will also be metted out on artisanal miners who engage in destructive illegal activities,” she went on.
The Bulawayo-Beitbridge railway line is an US$85 million investment owned by the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), 15% NLPI Limited (NLPI) investors which include Nedbank Ltd(SA), Old Mutual (SA), NLB (Mauritius) and Grindrod (SA)
The 350-kilometre railway line carries goods between Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, Bulawayo and South Africa.