By Staff Reporter
THE Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has forced the shutdown of four mines in Mashonaland Central province for operating without the mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate.
In a statement, EMA spokesperson Joyce Chapungu said the mines were closed last week after the environmental watchdog’s board, sitting as a court, found them guilty of violating regulations.
“The agency closed four mines in Mashonaland Central province during the week for operating without EIAs. The defaulting mines are, Pecho Minerals located in Galiver Farm in Bindura, Ruvimbo Mining Syndicate located in Mountanview Farm, Red Steel Mining Syndicate in Umfurudzi and Duiker 2&3 Gold Mining located in Wilowdean Farm,” Chapungu said.
“The defaulting projects were issued with fines between level 6 and 7, amounting to $4 800 and $ 9 600 respectively,” she said.
Mining is a prescribed project listed in the First Schedule of the Environmental Management Act 20:27 of 2002.
“All prescribed projects have the potential to cause environmental degradation hence should undergo the Environmental Impact Assessment process before implementation. This is in accordance with section 97 of the Environmental Management Act, and anyone found in violation of this, is liable to a fine of up to level 14,” Chapungu added.
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process which identifies the environmental impacts of a development project and clearly outlines measures to mitigate the negative impacts caused during project construction, implementation and decommissioning.
“The four projects were found to be operating without EIAs, and mining in a manner that harms the environment, causing massive land degradation in the environment. It is unfortunate that most of these projects are located in farming areas meaning that the amount of degradation they are causing will render the land unsuitable for farming purposes as well.”
“On that note, the agency is urging all those implementing prescribed projects to do so under an EIA as a way of promoting sustainable development; development which does not harm the environment.
“The agency will remain alert on the ground to stop any such activity, hence calling all developers to seek for guidance from the agency before implementing any projects that are likely to cause harm to the environment. The cost of rehabilitating, and living in a degraded environment, is more costly than preventing its degradation, hence the need to implement environmental sound projects,” she said.