Negligence on use of cyanide lamented PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 23 December 2016 12:33

Adherence to environmental laws that govern the use of hazardous substances and imposition of stiffer penalties has been cited as the best way to arrest the effects of cyanide poisoning.

Despite the existence of environmental laws that govern the use of cyanide and other hazardous substances, cases of negligence continue to be reported in some mines.

The situation has created a need for both the government and the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) to come up with stringent measures to protect both human life and wildlife.

Legal expert Tapson Dzvetero says it is important that miners adhere to the laws that govern the use of hazardous substances.

He said EMA appears to be reactive instead of being pro-active describing it as a recipe for disaster.

The Environmental Management Act and Statutory Instrument Number 12 of 2007 provides for the handling and disposal of hazardous substances such as pesticides and cyanide to avoid contaminating or polluting the environment.

The Act provides that those licensed must provide enough security and ensure their facilities cannot be broken into as well as avoiding spillage of the chemicals.

It is the advice of metallurgists and environmentalists that miners must treat residue to acceptable standards before discharging them.

Hydrogen peroxide is one is one of the common chemicals used to treat cyanide residue.

Cyanide antidote is said to be a critical drug that must always be available at mines that uses cyanide to protect life.

In terms of the law, those convicted of mishandling cyanide attract a fine of up to level 14 which is equivalent to US$5 000 and analysts recommend for the review of such fines.

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