Assessment of the impacts of artisanal small scale gold mining on environmental governance within the Mazowe catchment
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This study focused on assessing the impacts of artisanal small-scale gold activities on the environmental governance of the Mazowe catchment. A representative sample of 32 respondents was selected from three sites with the Upper Mazowe sub-catchment. To gain further perspectives into the environmental conflicts occurring within the Mazowe catchment, 6 key informant interviews and 3 focus group discussions were conducted. The findings from the research showed that artisanal gold mining has surpassed agriculture as the main livelihood activity, providing income for both men and women. Due to the success of artisanal gold mining in the area, environmental conflicts among different users within the catchment became inevitable, with the conflicts based on the usage of land and water resources. Most of the conflicts occurred between artisanal gold miners and regulatory authorities due to the illegal status of artisanal gold mining in Zimbabwe and the need for the regulatory authorities to maintain the integrity of the environment while attempting to eliminate artisanal gold mining activities. The conflicts within the Mazowe Catchment were reflective of how environmental governance is being implemented in the area. The study recommends that the government recognize artisanal gold mining activities and to provide opportunities for artisanal miners that will formalize them as small-scale miners. Stakeholders should be funded to enable them to rehabilitate the environment as well as to engage with artisanal small-scale gold miners so as to minimize environmental conflicts and to impose good environmental governance within the area.