Abandoned mine. Image credit wenxuecity.com

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Natural Resources: Problems being faced by the Mining Industry in Zimbabwe

  • Disinvestment by TNC after 1980 resulted in some mine closures and creation of ghost towns.
  • For example are Kamative and Mhangura.
  • Some mine closures are also as a result of mineral deposit exhaustion, examples are iron ore at Buchwa, tin at Kamativi and copper at Mhangura.
  • Mine closures have resulted in loss of employment and viable means of livelihood for many former mine workers from neighboring countries.
  • It has resulted in some of them to become destitutes and living in informal settlements.
  • Where mines have been closed down there is also physical decay of infrastructure and abandoned buildings.
  • Frequent accidents occur at work caused by unstable ground which causes rock falls or collapsing of shafts or gas explosions underground.
  • An example is the Hwange mine disaster which claimed the lives of over 400 miners on the 6th of June 1972.
  • There is also outdated equipment and shortage of foreign currency to import modern machinery.
  • Reduced profit margin due to the requirements by ZESA for the payment of electricity bills in foreign currency for major exporting companies.
  • High cost of upgrading technology and shortage of skilled manpower.
  • Theft of gold and other precious stone.
  • Fluctuating mineral prices on the world market due to competition from other producers and pressure from lobby groups.
  • For example, the campaign against use of asbestos in developed countries has reduced exports of this material.
  • Displacement of human of human settlements in areas where minerals are found for example Chiadzwa
  • Political strife in these areas as people fight for minerals
  • There is possibility of increased violence and crime as people form gangs and fight over territories in informal mines for example gold panners in Matebeleland and diamond miners in Chiadzwa
  • Corruption and backroom deals that undermine the international integrity of the industry

To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page