Eureka Gold Mine admits to cyanide discharge into major river

Stanley Gutu
MASVINGO—Residents of Guruve in Mashonaland Central province have accused
Eureka Gold Mine of polluting Dande River, which is their main source of potable water,
a report by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) indicates.
The mine dates back to 1906 and has changed hands several times over the decades.
Operating as an open pit model, it was re-commissioned in 2021 after 20 years of
inactivity and its output has jumped from 420kgs then to 1660kgs by February this year.
Eureka is owned by Dallaglio, which operates several other gold mining concerns in
The mine, which is situated some 150km northwest of Harare and about 4km from
Guruve Township, uses cyanide to process gold ore.
The community is worried that Eureka is discharging hazardous effluent containing
cyanide into the river and are pressing for redress from the miner and other relevant
The Guruve Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) in early May wrote to the
gold miner, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) and the Environmental
Management Agency (EMA), protesting the discharge of toxic pollutants into Dande
In the letter, the GRRA chairperson, Letios Karembera, through Tinashe Chinopfukutwa
and Kelvin Kabaya of ZLHR, protested the cyanide spill which allegedly occurred on 22
April when mine ponds overflowed into the river.
The ZLHR reported that the first spillage occurred last February.
The human rights lawyers’ association revealed that Eureka Gold Mine—through James
Beare, the chief executive officer at Dallaglio, the holding company—admitted to the
spillage into Dande River from its effluent ponds.
Beare, however, described the contamination as “minimal”, saying the company had
swiftly applied neutralising chemicals to the effluent to weaken the cyanide.
Because of the latest cyanide discharge, potable water supply to domestic and
commercial points was suspended.
To alleviate resultant water shortages, Eureka sent emergency supplies, but only
managed 45, 000 litres per day against an average requirement of 200, 000 litres.

Through ZLHR, the residents argued that their right to safe, clean and potable water as
provided for in section 77 of the Constitution had been seriously violated.
The section provides: “Every person has the right to a) safe, clean and potable water,
and b) sufficient food and the State must take reasonable legislative and other
measures, within the limits of the resources available, to achieve the progressive
realisation of this right”.
The residents demanded that ZINWA must quickly provide adequate potable and
treated water to the whole of the Guruve business centre and consumers.
It called for water bowsers to be availed to schools while Eureka must immediately
decontaminate Dander River and its basin.
They urged the mining company, ZINWA and EMA to adequately inform residents and
villagers in all affected areas up to Mushumbi Pools of the cyanide contamination, and
to take measures to prevent further spillages.
The association threatened legal action against Eureka, ZINWA and EMA if their
demands were not adequately addressed.
Meanwhile, the mining company has said it was working with EMA in implementing a
comprehensive plan to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
Eureka Gold Mine has promised to sink boreholes in Guruve as a way of diversifying
water sources for domestic and commercial consumption.

This article was also published by NewsHubZim