Police in Zomba confiscate mining machines

By Burnett Munthali

Police in Zomba have confiscated mining machines at Makhulera Village along Thondwe River in Traditional Authority M’biza where illegal miners were extracting gold and other precious stones.

According to Eastern Region Police deputy commissioner Gladson Chipumphula, the machines include drillers, water pumps, generators, pipes,  shovels, batteries and hoes among other equipment.

He said despite confiscating the machines, no arrests have been made as the illegal miners escaped when they saw the police vehicles at a distance.

“The police will not relent until the culprits are arrested and charged,” he said.

Illegal mining has enshrined in the country with people flocking from neighbouring countries like Mozambique and Zambia to buy the precious stones in areas that have been deemed to be ‘grey areas’ for precious stones and rare minerals such as gold, graphite and aldate.

The activities can lead to environmental degradation, including deforestation, soil erosion, and water pollution. These negative environmental impacts can deter tourists who seek pristine and sustainable destinations.

Some of the major negative impacts and consequences of small-scale mining include land degradation, destruction of flora and fauna, unprecedented pollution of water bodies and destruction of farmlands. Small-scale miners operate near major rivers and streams because they need water for their operations.

Loss of Government Revenue: Illegal mining operations often evade taxes, royalties, and other regulatory fees, resulting in substantial revenue losses for the government. This hampers the government’s ability to fund development projects and provide essential services (Hilson & Potter, 2005).