THE Environmental Management Agency has closed four mines in Mashonaland Central province for operating without Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
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 have been named as the defaulting mines.
“The defaulting projects were issued with fines between level 6 and 7, amounting to $4 800 and $9 600 respectively,” EMA said in a statement.
“Mining is a prescribed project listed in the First Schedule of the Environmental Management Act CAP 20:27 of 2002. All prescribed projects have the potential to cause environmental degradation hence should undergo the Environmental Impact Assessment process before
implementation,” EMA continued.
“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.”
An Environmental Impact Assessment 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 Environmental Management Act defines an Environmental Impact assessment as ‘an evaluation of a project to determine its impact on the environment and human health and to set out the required environmental monitoring and management procedures and plans.
“The EIA is thus a tool that enhances sustainable development where environmental, economic and social pillars are mainstreamed in the project in a balanced manner,” EMA said.
“As such, 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,” EMA added.
The Agency urged 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.
EMA said they 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.