EMA Act amendment to enforce environmental rehab

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Harare (New Ziana)-Proposed amendments to the Environmental Management Act will make it mandatory for a miner to rehabilitate land after the mineral resource is depleted, a senior Government official has said.

Mines and Mining Development deputy Minister Polite Kambamura said this while responding to a question in the Senate by Mashonaland West Senator Voice Chinake who queried who would cover pits that were being left uncovered by chrome miners whom he accused of not rehabilitating land.

Kambamura said environmental degradation caused by abandoned mining shafts would be a thing of the past once proposed amendments to the Environment Act were passed.

“We are amending the Environmental Act or the EMA Act to also include such requirements that the miner is duty bound or obligated to ensure that they cover the holes that they would have excavated. We have a team that was put together with the Environment Ministry that consists of inspectors from the two Ministries who are going to inspect mining locations so that we urge our miners not to leave pits uncovered because it is a danger to the livestock and to the people who will be moving around. It also disturbs farming activities,” he said.

Under the current EMA Act, a miner is supposed to do an Environmental Impact Assessment which discloses how they would rehabilitate land after mining but it was not obligatory enough.

“We are working hand in glove with the Ministry of Environment to ensure that the pits that were excavated and those that are going to be excavated in future are covered so that this will not be dangerous to our country. Before a person is allowed to peg a mine, they are supposed to do an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). In the EIA, she/he is going to disclose how they are going to operate and how they are also going to rehabilitate the excavations that they would have done,” he said.

Beitbridge Senator Tambudzani Mohadi said some miners did not follow proper procedures to obtain EIAs when mining as they were mining literally everywhere including along tarred roads.

“They mine along the tarred roads. Does that not cause any harm to the roads as well as to the travellers? If you travel along Gwanda Road, you will find that two to three metres away from the tarred road people are digging? What are you saying about that?” she asked.

Kambamura however said; “We believe that there are a lot of illegal miners throughout the country and we have raised this issue with the Ministry of Home Affairs and other law enforcement agents to look into the issue. We encourage all miners to be registered with the Government.

“In the interim, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development is working on a structure that mirrors the structure that is at the Ministry of Lands, whereby we have Agritex officers at the districts where farmers are to supervise and regulate the farming operations. In the same manner, the Ministry is restructuring and very soon we will be having mining extension officers who will be right down to where the miners are, to regulate and control all mining activities and also to monitor if miners are operating as per law. They need to be fully registered and they need to have an EIA”.

New Ziana

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