BY Stephen Chadenga
A GWERU gold miner has combined mining with agriculture in a bid to maximise production in the two sectors.
Speaking last Friday during a tour of the gold mine and farming projects, CMN Mines managing director, Advance Chauke said he uses water pumped from mine shafts for irrigation purposes.
“We de-water our mine shafts and use that water to irrigate crop fields,” Chauke said on the sidelines of the tour.
“At the moment we have planted maize on three hectares and the crop is ready for harvesting. We have also prepared 10 hectares of land and given the availability of irrigation equipment such as pipes and drips we can put more land under irrigation.”
Chauke added: “We also produce potatoes, tomatoes and vegetables.”
Chauke, who is also Confederation of Zimbabwe Miners president, said he started his mining venture, situated 22km north-west of Gweru off Matobo Road along Nkululeko Way, in 1999.
He said a South African investor, he was not at liberty to reveal, would partner CMN Mines by June this year in a move that would see the setting up of additional plants at the mine.
“If we set up an underground plant and another one for dumps we would increase production from the current one to two kilogrammes of gold per month to between three to four kilogrammes,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, Midlands provincial lands officer, Kudzai Katiyo commended Chauke for enhancing food security through combining mining and farming.
“This is quite commendable that a miner is using water pumped from shafts for irrigation purposes,” she said.
“We also encourage Chauke to assist other farmers surrounding him with water pumped from the mine shafts.”
Guest speaker at the event, Chief Chisadza of Lower Gweru encouraged other miners to emulate Chauke.
“Surely, if agriculture experts are engaged they can put standard canals and other irrigation equipment, turning this mining-farming venture into a world wonder,” he said.