The Sunday News
Munyaradzi Musiiwa , Midlands Correspondent
THE Environment Management Agency (Ema) has relaxed the process of acquiring of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) by small- scale miners, a move that has been hailed as supportive of the mining sector.
The new move gives an EIA waiver to small-scale miners whose projects have an initial capital of less than $25 000.
To qualify, the small-scale and artisanal miners are required to be registered and have an Environmental Management Plan (EMP).
Ema environmental impact and ecosystems protection officer for Midlands, Mr Phanuel Kudakwashe Mangisi said an EMP is given to miners whose capital investment is less than $25 000 and operate on registered claims.
“We have designed an EMP guideline for small-scale or artisanal miners with registered claims. This is only for those who do mining only and not processing. What was happening is that an EIA was more expensive for small- scale miners in that it was done through an agent and the charges were not fixed. EIA was usually 1,2 percent of the total capital investment. So with the EMP we are going to have less mining related accidents and deaths because this guideline will also educate miners on how to do safe mining,” he said.
Small-scale miners contribute at least 60 percent of the country’s total gold output. Zimbabwe Miners Federation spokesperson, Mr Dosman Mangisi applauded Government for recognising the contribution of small-scale and artisanal miners to total mineral output and revenue generation.
Mr Mangisi the EIA waiver by Government will enable a wider inclusion of artisanal miners into the formal mining sector as well as enhancing productivity. He said it also enables miners to have an appreciation of the importance of environment.
“We want to applaud Government for formulating a policy which gives an EIA waiver to small-scale miners whose projects have an initial capital of less than $25 000. Government through Environmental Management Agency (Ema) now requires the small-scale and artisanal miners to have Environmental management Plan (EMP). This means that all miners now need to register their claims and get an EMP which is provided by Ema and then they start operating. Most small-scale and artisanal miners were operating illegally. As a result, most of their produce will then be sold on the parallel market and Government would lose millions of dollars in potential revenue. This waiver will enable miners to formalise their operations and be able to sell their gold to Fidelity,” he said.
Center for Conflict Management and Transformation (CCMT) has for long been advocating for the waiver arguing that it was hindering small-scale and artisanal miners from formalising their operations.
CCMT projects officer, Ms Alethea Taruvinga launched a vigorous campaign for the relaxation of the stringent conditions in the mining sector.
Ms Taruvinga engaged mining communities in the Midlands on the importance of preserving the environment.