BY CHARLES LAITON
FORMER Finance minister Christopher Tichaona Kuruneri has approached the High Court seeking an order to bar Mines minister Winston Chitando and his subordinates from issuing mining licences, permits or certificates to miners who have invaded his Ascotvale Farm in Mazowe.
In an application filed at the High Court last week, Kuruneri also cited the Mashonaland Central mines commissioner, provincial mines director and Mines secretary as respondents.
Kuruneri said he bought the farm sometime in 1997 and embarked on crop and livestock farming until recently when small-scale gold miners invaded the property after being issued with permits by government.
He claimed the miners had caused huge environmental damage and adversely affected his farming operations.
“This is an application for a declaratur against the mining authorities that any mining licences, permits or certificates that they issue or have issued to prospective miners on my farm, Ascotvale Farm in Mazowe, without the prior issuance of an Environmental Impact Assessment certificate by the Environmental Management Agency are null and void and of no force and effect,” he said.
“In this application I (Kuruneri) seek an order preventing the above cited mining authorities from issuing mining licences, permits or certificates in respect of any mining claim situated on Ascotvale Farm without an Environmental Impact Assessment certificate issued by the Environment Management Agency (EMA) in terms of section 97 of the Environmental Management Act.”
The former Finance minister further said the illegal and unplanned activities at his farm were posing a real risk to his livestock.
“Uncontrolled mining activities like prospecting, excavations and unprotected mineshafts pose physical danger to my farm, employees, family, visitors, cattle and other livestock, apart from degradation and damage to the environment,” Kuruneri said.
“There have been several incursions onto the farm by various groups of people intending to carry out mining activities on the strength of certificates, permits and licences issued by the first and second respondents, the mining commissioner Mashonaland Central and the provincial mining director, respectively.”
“As a result of the respondents’ conduct, I have now been constrained to engage in costly litigation against those coming to the farm to conduct mining activities without the requisite certificates but having been issued with permits or licences by the respondents,” he said.
The matter is pending.