THE Environmental Management Agency (EMA) says it is yet to receive an environmental impact assessment report from Heijin Mining Company, a Chinese mining company, which is on the verge of displacing several villagers from their ancestral land in Uzumba Maramba-Pfungwe.
On 2 September 2021, Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) wrote a letter to the Mining Commissioner for Mashonaland East province and to the Environmental Management Agency seeking explanations regarding the existence of a prospecting licence authorising Heijin Mining Company to peg the village so as to conduct mining activities.
This came after villagers engaged ZLHR as they were at the risk of losing their homesteads, farming fields and grazing land to Heijin Mining Company.
In the letter, Chinopfukutwa said in the event that a prospecting licence was granted to Heijin Mining Company, then the pegging of Kaseke Village is unlawful as a holder of a prospecting licence shall not exercise any of the rights conferred in terms of the prospecting licence on communal land without the consent of the occupier.
The human rights lawyer stated that the pegging of Kaseke Village without consultation and the consent of the occupiers of the land is unlawful and that in terms of Section 31(1)(h) of the Mines and Minerals Act, no holder of a prospecting licence can proceed to peg communal land occupied as a village without the written consent of the Rural District Council of the area concerned.
Chinopfukutwa asked if any Environmental Impact Assessment was conducted in relation to the mining project and to be furnished with an Environmental Impact Assessment report and a copy of the certificate approving the prospecting and pegging of Kaseke Village by Heijin Mining Company.
However, in response to the request by ZLHR, Juliet Mavu, EMA’s Provincial Environmental Manager for Mashonaland East province, disclosed that Heijin Mining Company is yet to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment report for its intended mining project and therefore no Environmental Impact Assessment Certificate has been issued out to the miner.
The Environmental Impact Assessment report, is an instrument which is relied upon to identify and assess the potential environmental, social and health impacts of a proposed project, evaluate alternatives, and design appropriate environmental and social management plans during the lifecycle of the project.
Mavu said EMA received a prospectus for the proposed Kaseke and Chibvi 2 black granite mining, cutting and polishing plant in Uzumba Maramba-Pfungwe District from Heijing Mining on 29 June 2021.
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