THE ethanol project by Green Fuel in Chisumbanje was established after an environmental impact assessment was conducted in line with the legislative requirements. Green Fuel spokesperson, Ms Lillian Mungani, on Friday said extensive stakeholder consultative processes were held at Middle Sabi and Chisumbanje aimed at exhaustively addressing community concerns on the social impact of the project.
This follows reports to the Senate Thematic Committee by the Environment Management Agency director for environment protection, Mrs Petronella Shoko, last week that the ethanol project was implemented without an environmental impact assessment.
The EIA is a tool that encompasses stakeholders and asks questions on the issues surrounding the project.
Mrs Shoko accused Green Fuel of exposing families living in the area to acidic water released from their operations.
She said EMA had issued an order for the company to regularise its waste water disposal.
The firm relies on water from Osborne Dam.
However, Green Fuel said the firm submitted an EIA report on February 4, last year in line with the legislative requirements stipulating the prerequisites for the operation of plants such as the Chisumbanje ethanol refinery.
"Owing to the scope of the project, EMA had indicated they did not have internal experts to carry out the environmental assessment.
"Green Fuel was then directed to make payments of over one hundred thousand US dollars (US$100 000) for the engagement of independent experts from the University of Zimbabwe who duly conducted site visits to the plant, reviewed the EIA file and gave a green light," Ms Mungani said.
She said during the compilation of the EIA report, Green Fuel placed numerous notices in all the major daily newspapers inviting relevant stakeholders for dialogue on the proposed plant.
"Extensive stakeholder consultative processes were held at Middle Sabi and Chisumbanje, aimed at exhaustively addressing community concerns on the social impact of the project," she said.
Ms Mungani said Green Fuel had been issued with relevant licences supporting its operations and these include the Industrial Effluent Disposal Licence.
"EMA teams routinely visit Green Fuel premises for periodic monitoring and no concerns have been raised against the submitted EIA," she said.
Green Fuel is a joint venture company between the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority and Macdom Investments.
The company has employed more than 4 500 workers, most of them from Manicaland province.