21 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Mining Companies Urged to Present Decommissioning Plans

Mining companies have been urged to present their decommissioning plans to the Environmental Management Agency in the event of a shut down. The call has been made amid revelations that when some chrome mines were ordered to stop exporting, their administrations also relaxed on rehabilitating the land they operated on.

EMA Mashonaland Central provincial manager Mr Robert Rwafa said the opened up lands were a danger to people and animals.

"When a mine decommissions, they are supposed to do it gradually and there has to be mitigation processes," he said.

"The way miners in Guruve district are doing it is damaging the environment because the owners just disappear when production is halted.

"We are appealing for funding to enable us to take data of the closed mines to assess and workout a plan to effectively rehabilitate the endangered flora."

Mr Rwafa cautioned the miners to adhere to the Environmental Impact Assessment they submitted upon resumption of operations or they risked being penalised.

"The quarterly reports and decommissioning plan helps the agency to determine the pace of the miner's production and will be able to assume and follow the trend of their business life cycle," Mr Rwafa said.

Ms Emily Zhang, who used to operate a mine in Guruve district, said they were financially incapacitated to rehabilitate the land.

She said they were hoping for the lifting of the ban on the export of chrome ore by the Government to be back in business.

"We have no money to maintain the land and erect smelters which need uninterrupted power supply since operations have been on hold for a year now," said Ms Zhang.

The ban on chrome exports was imposed as part of Government's efforts to promote value addition, boost revenue inflows and employment creation.

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