Treasure hunters are flocking to Zimbabwe – however the poisonous gold rush brings ecological catastrophe | EUROtoday

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The liquid steel, as soon as well-known for driving Victorian English hatters and mirror makers mad, is used the world over by small-scale miners to pinpoint and isolate gold. It is unfold within the mud and mixes with flecks of gold to create an amalgam that’s then put aside and burned. Gold is left behind, whereas the mercury vapours are left to leach into the surroundings.

Zimbabwe’s Environmental Management Agency has warned it has no strategies of cleansing up mercury from the surroundings.

Mr Makoni stated youngsters within the space have been abandoning college to affix the profitable however harmful gold rush. He stated that on one afternoon in March this 12 months, he noticed two younger miners openly digging for gold simply behind a small church within the space.

“The situation is becoming so dire. And we don’t even know what to do,” he stated.

The historical past of gold mining in Penhalonga dates again greater than a century. Over that point, completely different firms have come and gone and at this time mining is dominated by small time prospectors who function illegally. And mercury, they are saying, is their lifeblood.

“In gold mining, mercury is everything. We use it to extract the gold. But we are not handling it carelessly; mercury is very expensive here. We try to be careful,” stated Lovemore Chikuni, a miner within the Penhalonga space.