MAC: Mines and Communities

Zimbabwe disaster: local NGO admonishes government

Published by MAC on 2019-02-17
Source: CNRG, Zimbabwe

In light of the huge death toll, suffered by artisanal miners during Zimbawe's recent Battlefilds gold mine disaster [see: 50 feared dead in Zimbabwe mine disaster] , a domestic NGO has  called for the  government agency, EMA, to be held responsible.

It attributes the disaster to a collapsed dam wall causing floods that engulfed the men.

This is much like what occurred at Brumadinho in Brazil; stark  parallels can also be drawn with the Meghalaya drownings in India [see: Meghalaya disaster - collusion between government and mine owners].

CNRG Statement on Battlefields artisanal miners tragedy: EMA complicit

14 February 2019

Centre for Natural Resource Governance is saddened by the loss of lives
of 23 artisanal miners who were trapped by water inside shafts. The
artisanal miners died after water from a collapsed dam wall flooded
their shafts in Battlefields area, Mashonaland West Province.

The incident is however an indictment on the Environmental Management
Agency which over the years has been accused by communities and workers
of working in cahoots with miners and as a result negating its
constitutional mandate which is the protection of the environment among
other responsibilities.

There are a number of mines that are just abandoned in Zimbabwe when the
mineral runs out and EMA has done nothing to hold the responsible
parties to account. Section 114 of the Environmental Management Act
(Chapter 20:17) subsection 3 (n) mandates the agency to issue an order
in respect of the rehabilitation of a mining site.

Environmental reclamation or rehabilitation once a mine is closed is
adequately covered by the country’s statutes. However, EMA as a
regulatory body is either sleeping on duty or is, for the reasons known
to themselves, allowing impunity to continue at the expense of people’s
lives and the environment.

Moreover, EMA is supposed to carry out bi-annual environmental audits to
ensure that all projects being implemented are in compliance with the
regulations and the provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment
reports which miners develop prior to commencing their projects.

Environmental Impact assessment is “an evaluation of a project to
determine its impact on the environment and human health and to set out
the required environmental monitoring and management procedures and
plans”. An EIA thus ensures that environmental, economic and social
pillars are mainstreamed into the projects. Had EMA been effectively
monitoring the projects and undertaking audits, environmental damage
would have been reduced.

CNRG calls on the government of Zimbabwe to ensure statutory bodies
stick to their mandate.

Simiso Mlevu - Communications Officer
Centre for Natural Resources Governance (CNRG)
Cell: +263773675472 / +263733298488


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