The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and small scale miners have stroked an environmental management plan that will encourage compliance and sustainable mining in the sector.
To promote the ease of doing business, EMA has scrapped off the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for small scale miners and introduced a more lenient environmental management plan to encourage formalisation of artisanal miners who are one of major foreign currency earners in the country.
Addressing small scale miners in Bulawayo recently, the EMA board chairperson Mr Zenzo Nsimbi said the agency is fully aware of the economic contribution from small scale miners and has moved in to reduce stiffer requirements to encourage sustainable extraction of gold.
“Over the years, the small scale miners have highlighted that the cost of environmental compliance is beyond the reach of many within the sector even those that afforded it meant a real fortune loss. Consequently, most of them resorted in violation of existing environmental statues,” he said.
On behalf of EMA’s managing director Mr Aaron Chigura, the agency’s director Mrs Chipo Zuze Mpofu weighed in saying that it’s important for the agency and the growing mining sector to closely work together for the good of the economy and the environment.
“The hostility that existed between us and small scale miners is not leading us anywhere, it is very important to bridge this gap to create a win-win situation,” he said.
After receiving the new environmental management plan on behalf of small scale miners, the Zimbabwe Miners Federation president Mrs Henrietta Rushwaya said the environmental management plan is a positive step to the right direction and urged EMA to immediately activate the plan for small scale miners to formalise in large numbers.
“We are happy that finally we have reached an agreement with EMA, this will encourage small scale miners to be compliant as they were struggling to hire expensive EIA consultants. We urge the agency to activate this document as soon as possible,” she said.
The government has pledged to support small scale miners who have of late overtaken big mining giants in gold production.
The government has also urged its departments to promote the ease of doing business to achieve the vision 2030 of transforming Zimbabwe into a middle income economy.
Source – ZBC