EMA speaks out on Chinese miner’s operations in Uzumba

THE Environmental Management Agency (EMA) says it is yet to receive an
environmental impact assessment report from Heijin Mining Company, a
Chinese mining company, which is on the verge of displacing several
villagers from their ancestral land in Uzumba Maramba-Pfungwe.

On 2 September 2021, Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights (ZLHR) wrote a letter to the Mining Commissioner for
Mashonaland East province and to the Environmental Management Agency
seeking explanations regarding the existence of a prospecting licence
authorising Heijin Mining Company to peg the village so as to conduct
mining activities.

This came after villagers engaged ZLHR as they were at the risk of
losing their homesteads, farming fields and grazing land to Heijin
Mining Company.

In the letter, Chinopfukutwa said in the event that a prospecting
licence was granted to Heijin Mining Company, then the pegging of
Kaseke Village is unlawful as a holder of a prospecting licence shall
not exercise any of the rights conferred in terms of the prospecting
licence on communal land without the consent of the occupier.

The human rights lawyer stated that the pegging of Kaseke Village
without consultation and the consent of the occupiers of the land is
unlawful and that in terms of Section 31(1)(h) of the Mines and
Minerals Act, no holder of a prospecting licence can proceed to peg
communal land occupied as a village without the written consent of the
Rural District Council of the area concerned.

Chinopfukutwa asked if any Environmental Impact Assessment was
conducted in relation to the mining project and to be furnished with
an Environmental Impact Assessment report and a copy of the
certificate approving the prospecting and pegging of Kaseke Village by
Heijin Mining Company.
However, in response to the request by ZLHR, Juliet Mavu, EMA’s
Provincial Environmental Manager for Mashonaland East province,
disclosed that Heijin Mining Company is yet to submit an Environmental
Impact Assessment report for its intended mining project and therefore
no Environmental Impact Assessment Certificate has been issued out to
the 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, evaluate alternatives, and
design appropriate environmental and social management plans during
the lifecycle of the project.

Mavu said EMA received a prospectus for the proposed Kaseke and Chibvi
2 black granite mining, cutting and polishing plant in Uzumba
Maramba-Pfungwe District from Heijing Mining on 29 June 2021.