via Government to probe fake miners’ environment certificates March 21, 2014 in NewsDay by Veneranda Langa
GOVERNMENT will soon institute investigations into reports that several miners around the country were generating fictitious Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificates, a Cabinet minister has said.
Environment, Water and Climate minister Saviour Kasukuwere told Parliament on Wednesday that his ministry would look into the matter and urged MPs to whistleblow on such miners.
The issue of fictitious EIA certificates was raised by Bikita West MP Munyaradzi Kereke in Parliament during the question and answer session where he said the scam was rampant and needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
He said as part of protecting the environment, EIA reports must be prepared in order for the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) to issue a certificate that the prospective miners would take heed of environmental issues.
“However, we have observed that fictitious reports are now being generated, whereby the prospective miners do not even visit the village concerned — money is paid to acquire a fictitious EIA and thereafter, mining operations start,” Kasukuwere said.
“I will certainly investigate this matter with EMA and ensure we curb such things so that people do not take advantage of existing EMA requirements.
“I also want MPs to assist us with information about the mines and people who have been doing it.”
EMA director-general Mutsa Chasi recently told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment, Tourism, Water and Hospitality Industry that many project developers did not have EIA certificates.
She told the committee, chaired by Anastancia Ndhlovu (Zanu PF MP) that most of the miners were not rehabilitating the land on completion of their operations.
Statistics from EMA indicated that about 85% (6 974) of projects in Zimbabwe had no EIAs compliance certificates.
In 2013, the environmental agency took 50% of the projects to court for operating without EIAs.
“We would do well if permits for mining were issued to miners after EIAs have been obtained,” Chasi said.
“I suggest the establishment of environmental courts to ensure expeditious hearings of cases and to impose prohibitive fines.”
She said one of EMA’s biggest impediments to bringing the culprits to book was lack of adequate staff to do environmental policing.