High Court stops mining activities close to Eiffel Flats

HIGH Court judge, Justice Charles Hungwe, has ordered Kadoma-based gold producer, Rio Zim, to stop mining close to Eiffel Flats residential areas after residents raised safety concerns.

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

In a provisional order passed last week after the residents dragged the stock exchange-listed company to court through their lawyers, Mtetwa and Nyambirai legal practitioners, Hungwe ruled that mining activities at Eiffel Flats be stopped, as they were within the 450 metres from the residents which was in contravention of the Mines and Mineral’s Act.

“Pending the final determination of this present case, an order interdicting and restraining the respondents (Rio Zim), their agents, proxies or employees from conducting mining activities within 459 metres of number 8 Flamboyant Drive, or any other residential homes pending the final determination of this matter,” the Judge ruled.

The residents are fronted John Kinnaird in the suit and the mining giant has 10 days to oppose the application or an order would be made final.

In the Court papers, the residents had alleged that Rio Zim’s activities, which include blasting that was being conducted by the company in the vicinity of residential areas, was exposing their safety.

“The Respondent (Rio Zim) is a mining company that conducts open cast gold mining at the Cam and Motor mine at Eiffel Flats. Eiffel Flats is a beautiful residential town near Kadoma. Recently, however, the lives of the residents of Eiffel Flats, including the myself, have been extremely adversely affected by the mining activities which have been encroaching closer and closer to the residential homes of Eiffel Flats,” read an affidavit Kinnaird, one of the applicants in the suit.

“On Friday the 2nd of February 2018, employees of the respondent conducted a blast at a place called the Petrol Shaft in Eiffel Flats. The Petrol Shaft is right in the midst of residential houses. It is approximately 100 meters from about eight privately owned and occupied residential houses and well within a 450 meter radius of numerous other houses including my own”.

“All of the roads leading to the blast site were closed for a period of about an hour while the blast was being conducted and access was denied to residents who live in the properties. About 20 properties are in the cordoned off area. Additionally, the intersection that connects the entire residential area of Eiffel Flats as well as the surrounding country side to the local hospital was blocked off during time when the blast was being conducted,” Kinnaird said in the affidavit.

According to the legal challenge, the incident followed another one which occurred on January 12, 2018, in which large rocks landed on Flamboyant Avenue next to the Eiffel Flats Primary School as a result of a blast conducted by the company.

The residents said that they engaged Rio Zim but still no solution has been found.

Kinnaird is joined by Paul Whyte and Gemma Van Rooyan in the application and the matter is set to be heard today.

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