“We took a decision as a ministry that mining along riverbeds is prohibited. It will not be tolerated,” Kasukuwere told The Zimbabwean. “As I speak, we are crafting a law to that effect, which will be constitutionally enforced when companies defy. The law will prescribe the certain minimum conditions to be met before mining, as in the case of DTZ,” he added.
The riverbed mining bill will further dampen efforts by the Russian mining company DTZ-OZGEO to resume operations at their Penhalonga alluvial gold claim situated along the Mutare River. The company is jointly owned by the Development Trust of Zimbabwe (40 percent) and Russian company Econendra Limited (60 percent). It is also involved in diamond mining in Chimanimani District.
The company was affected by the government directive to freeze mining activities along rivers last year, following reports of siltation and massive land degradation along the Mazowe River in Mashonaland Central.
The Environmental Management Agency enforced the order, forcing DTZ to shut down its operations after it discovered that the mining giant had caused environmental degradation at its alluvial gold mine in Penhalonga.
The agency argued that DTZ could resume its operations once it complied with the Environment Impact Assessment by rehabilitating its old mine in Penhalonga. The company went on to plead with government to lift the ban on its alluvial gold mining activities or risk rendering 500 workers jobless.
DTZ maintained they had mined on 103 hectares of land since the beginning of their operations in the country and rehabilitated 86,7 hectares of that. But Kasukuwere said the bill was crafted to address such cases where miners attempt to circumvent environmentally-friendly mining.
He added that though he has not been formally appraised of DTZ’s plea, it will not be granted as he is determined to stamp out riverbed mining. The minister’s firm stance comes at a time when the EMA has been battling with various mining giants to comply with environmental laws.
He is on record saying he intends to equip the EMA with enough “teeth to bite.”Post published in: News