from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE controversy around the planned eviction of some villagers in northeastern Zimbabwe has deepened after it emerged the Chinese company at the centre of the storm has not provided environmental impact assessment report to authorities.
The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) confirmed it was yet to receive the report from Heijin Mining Company, which is on the verge of displacing the villagers from their ancestral land in Uzumba Maramba-Pfungwe.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) is representing the villagers in resisting the eviction.
In September, it wrote to the Mining Commissioner for Mashonaland East province and to the EMA seeking explanations regarding the existence of a prospecting licence authorising Heijin Mining Company to peg the village so as to conduct mining activities.
Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of ZLHR stated that the pegging of Kaseke Village without consultation and the consent of the occupiers of the land was unlawful and against the Mines and Minerals Act.
Chinopfukutwa asked if any environmental impact assessment was conducted in relation to the mining project and to be furnished with a relevant report and a copy of the certificate approving the prospecting and pegging of the village by Heijin.
In response to the request by ZLHR, Juliet Mavu, EMA’s provincial Environmental Manager disclosed Heijin was yet to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment.
Therefore, no such certificate had been issued out to the granite miner.
The Environmental Impact Assessment report is an instrument which is relied upon to identify and assess the potential environmental, social and health impacts of a proposed project.
It evaluated alternatives and design appropriate environmental and social management plans during the lifecycle of the project.
Zimbabwean authorities have over the years gained notoriety for evicting villagers to make way for projects seen as lining up pockets of politicians.
– CAJ News