Chidakwa confusing diamond mining operations

On Tuesday June 15, 2016, the State media carried an article about Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) being poised to begin mining in Gache Gache, Kariba.

Source: Chidakwa confusing diamond mining operations – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 25, 2016

BY Special Correspondent

It must be stated that ZCDC is a registered private company in, which shares are held by several firms that used to do diamond mining in Marange.

Zimbabweans are aware that Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa withdrew the licences of seven companies that had been mining diamonds in Marange. That means there are seven sites in Marange where ZCDC should be mining diamonds.

Yet, ZCDC is mining diamonds at only one site. Last month, it only managed to extract a paltry 120 000 carats of poor quality diamonds which realised only $5,5 million. Of that only $1,1 million went to the fiscus.

In the article it is stated that ZCDC is at Gache Gache and is about to start mining gold, not diamonds, and that it already has mining equipment, including

2 x 80 tonnes per hour Nelson Concentrators on site ahead of full-scale operations.

The equipment is already undergoing commissioning and production should start soon, according to Chidakwa. Why did Chidakwa send a company that was formed to mine diamonds to Gache Gache to mine gold?

The Environmental Management (Control of Alluvial Mining) Regulations 2014 were promulgated in SI 92/2014 on June 6, 2014. Section 3 of the Regulations provides as follows:

“3.(1) No person shall, notwithstanding that they are in possession of a special grant, conduct alluvial mining activities or prospecting of alluvial deposits without an Environmental Impact Assessment Report and a Certificate issued by the Agency in terms of section 100 of the Act.

(2) Alluvial mining shall not take place on:

land within 200m of the naturally defined banks; or

land within 200m of the highest flood level of any body of water conserved in a natural or artificially constructed water storage work or stream; or

any bed, banks or course of any river or stream; or
Subsection (5) of section 3 provides that under no circumstances should alluvial mining be carried out through the use of mechanical equipment or motor-powered equipment.

ZCDC does not have an Environmental Impact Assessment report or a certificate issued by Environmental Management Agency (EMA). In fact, it has not even applied for a certificate. Before issuing a certificate EMA has to consider the application and then appoint a consultant to do a report. That will take a few months to be completed.

Paragraph (a) of section 5 of the Regulations provides that no person issued with an Environmental Impact Assessment Certificate and a mining permit to carry out alluvial mining shall set up a residency camp on site.

The camp must be set up at an area designated by the local authority, at a distance of not less than 300 metres from the boundary of the alluvial mining site. No alluvial mining site has been designated.

Section 5 also provides that before commencement of the project and the issue of an Environmental Impact Assessment, a water permit for the use of water in the alluvial mining process should be obtained from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa). No water permit has been issued.

Chidakwa must be aware of the Regulations and the provisions thereof. Why has he instructed ZCDC to go to Gache Gache with mechanical equipment and set up a camp and then commence alluvial gold mining as soon as possible, when it does not have an EMA certificate?

If ZCDC does start mining it will be in complete contravention of many provisions of the Regulations and will be liable to prosecution.

In fact, ZCDC is already in contravention of the Regulations because it has moved on site with mechanical equipment and motor-powered equipment and set up a residency camp on site.

In the article it is stated that government has indicated that it will solely be the responsibility of the State to conduct mining activities in the area in line with a recent directive that all riverbed mining is to be done by the State. Yet, Chidakwa has awarded to a company called Stromspice Trading (Private) Ltd the project to desilt and extract minerals in the Odzi River from Chimanimani to the Marange area.

Stromspice is not the State so it cannot be given a licence to mine. Obviously, Chidakwa considers that Stromspice Trading will not be mining in the river, it will be desilting the river, and only if it discovers any gold or diamonds in the sands that are extracted will it be entitled to beneficiate the sand by removing the gold and diamonds.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 1
  • comment-avatar
    Joe Cool 6 years ago

    What is the purpose of this article? Everyone already knows that, in Africa, governments are exempted from complying with laws and regulations. So the article is really a non-event.