via Chiri raps EMA | The Herald October 10, 2015
Auditor General, Ms Mildred Chiri, has rapped the Environmental Management Agency for several weaknesses that include failing to carry out adequate environmental audit, letting miners operate without Environmental Impact Assessment certification, failure to monitor discharge and emissions of mines among other shortcomings.
In her report tabled in Parliament this week, Ms Chiri castigated EMA for failing to control miners operating without EIA certification, failing to implement adequate measures against environmental offenders and poor maintenance of records.
“EMA was not adequately carrying out biannual audits to check compliance by miners with EIA regulations.
From a total of 1 469 mining projects granted EIA certification during 2009 to September 2012, at least 2 936 bi-annual audits were supposed to be carried out.
“However, the Agency only conducted 372 audits (13 percent) giving a variance of 2 564 (87 percent),” said Ms Chiri.
She said if bi-annual environmental audits were not conducted on each mine, protective measures prescribed in the EIA document might not be implemented by miners resulting in threat or damage to the environment.
“From documentary review of reports on blitz operations conducted in eight provinces from 2010 to 2012, I established that a total of 986 mines were found operating without EIA certificates.
Documentary review of EMA inspection reports revealed that implementation of mining activities without EIA certification was as a result of lack of coordination of operations between EMA and the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, which is the mines and minerals licensing authority.
Miners were being issued mining rights without EIA certificates,” she said.
It was noted that EMA was not making follow ups on expired EIA certificates.
“A sample of 75 out of 576 mining projects issued with EIA certificates during 2007, 2008, and 2009 showed that only one project, Rose of Gold in Midlands province had renewed its EIA certificate on August 3 2012,” read the report by Ms Chiri.
Audit had noted that mining operators were operating without discharge licences.
“Review of the EIA register at EMA head office revealed that a sample of 16 milling miners were not issued with discharge licences.
“Furthermore there was no evidence that these operators had been fined in terms of Section 17 (1) (b) of Statutory Instrument 12 of 2007.
Mining without discharge licences results in unregulated environmental pollution of air, land and water given that the discharge and emission licence will specify how an operator will carry out their discharge into the environment,” said Ms Chiri.