Global Advanced Research Journal of Social Science (GARJSS)
May 2013 Vol. 2(5), pp. 100-113
Copyright © 2013 Global Advanced Research Journals


Full Length Research Paper

Gold panning and runde river course morphology in Mwenezi: A quest for a sound catchment management and sustainable development

Bernard Chazovachii1* and Austin Musingarimi2

1Great Zimbabwe University Box 1235, Masvingo, Department of Rural and Urban Development
2Zimbabwe Open University, Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Masvingo Region Zimbabwe

*Corresponding Author E-mail:; Cell: +263 775 130 475

Accepted 13 May, 2013


Land and natural resources remains the backbone of life and adaptation for most populations in Africa. Despite the Mines and Minerals Act 1996 as legislation in mining sector in Zimbabwe, there is continued adverse degradation of water resources due to illegal gold panning. Unprecedented changes in river morphology due to panning have negative ripple effects on aquatic life and the riparian. This study analyzed the impact of alluvial gold panning on river channel, focusing on depth, width, bad and channel features and its implication on sustainability of environment and water resources in particular. The study used both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Observational field work, measurements, photographs, archival research, interviews and questionnaires were used in this research. The river channel morphological changes have been caused by traditional sand wash, horizontal tunneling and the vertical pit method. These alluvial gold panning methods have resulted in reduced water velocity due to sediments deposition on river bed, processing of gold using mercury affected river bad rock and are lethal to plants and animal .Deposition of both course and fine materials narrowed the pools, siltation reduced carrying capacity of the river making it unsustainable for domestic or industrial purposes.Undercutting of the river banks resulted in vegetation loss, erosion and widening of the course. Deepened river channel threatened the stability of the river channel near the banks, settlements and farmlands. This is actually a ticking bomb for water resources sustainability. Therefore responsible authorities should established community area management of the river profile especially in rivers that are resource endowed like Runde for monitoring and evaluation.

Keywords: Alluvial gold panning, river morphology, catchment, sustainable development.


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