The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) yesterday said black granite mining in Mutoko was destroying the natural ecosystem, while most mines in the area were failing to renew their environment management plans annually.
EMA environment education and publicity officer for Mashonaland West Astas Mabwe said massive destruction of the ecosystem was in the form of deforestation, noise pollution, destruction of farm land through rock waste depositing in the fields, cracks in houses through rock blasting effects, and destruction of mountains.
“Under the EMA Act (Chapter 20:27) mining companies established before the Act should produce an Environment Management Plan (EMBs) to outline their mining activities, effects to the environment and the mitigatory measures they would take,” said Mabwe.
“Most mines in Mutoko have EMBs and were given licences but are failing to renew them annually and EMA is making frantic efforts to have the companies comply with the laws.”
But Natural Stone ExportCompany, one of the firms extracting granite in Mutoko, disputed EMA claims saying some of the companies used state-of-the-art equipment for blasting.
“Our blasting cannot deposit rock waste as we use diamond wire technology which reduces the flying of rock fragments. It is also unfair to say miners are causing the destruction of mountains as we were allocated that land by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and were licenced to extract that granite and they cannot come back to us and say we are destroying mountains,” said the company’s director Simbarashe Mudarikwa.
He said instead, the mines were earning the country the much needed revenue.
“We want genuine environmentalists in Zimbabwe not alarmists.
“EMA people are charging miners in Mutoko licence fees of $500 to carry ammonium nitrate fertilizer for villagers and another $500 licence fees for storing that fertilizer.
“We are helping the community through that fertilizer and they charge nefarious licence fees just to make money,”said Mudarikwa.