THE Mines and Environment ministries yesterday told Parliament that the Mutorashanga Green Pool cannot be classified as a tourist resort area as it is situated in a mining area.
The Green Pool was established after an asbestos mining shaft collapsed in 1964, killing 68 workers at Ethel Mine Quarry.
Mines secretary Onesimo Moyo and Environment secretary Munesu Munodawafa yesterday appeared before joint committees of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines chaired by Edmond Mkaratigwa and the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment led by Teedzai Percy Muchimwe to give oral evidence on protected mining areas in the country.
He was responding to a petition by the Mutorashanga Voluntary Group which is seeking assistance from Parliament in placing the green pool under the Protected Places and Areas Act or the Environmental Management Act following recent mining activities in the area.
“The green pool in Mutorashanga is in a mining location as a result of previous asbestos mining. The ground on which the green pool is located has continuously been under valid mining tittle since it was pegged and registered in 1918 to date, hence the petition by the Mutorashanga Voluntary Group to change the Green Pool area from mining land use to another use should not be supported.
“Instead, it is recommended that investigations be made to ascertain safety and security of the Green Pool, particularly with regards to possible toxicity of the water given its high mineral content,” he said.
Moyo said the suitability for human use of the Green Pool and its waters should be investigated for the good of the public.
Munodawafa said the pool was not sacred, adding that the green colour was a result of chemicals and other mining substances which contaminated the water.
“From a tourism point of view, we believe that the colour of the pool has potential for tourism activities, but I want your caution that the area is a collapsed mine and there are activities that cannot take place without safety assessment being undertaken,” Munodawafa said.
“We are dealing with a collapsed mine and, therefore, we discourage any water sporting activities until we are satisfied that the structure of the shaft will not collapse one day,” he said.
Director of the National Museums and Monuments Godfrey Mahachi said more time was needed to interrogate the sacredness of the site by consulting people who live around the Mutorashanga area.