BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
AUSTRALIAN energy firm, Invictus Energy Limited (IEL) announced that it had received an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) compliance certificate from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) for its Cabora Bassa Project in Zimbabwe.
IEL has been struggling to launch the Cabora Bassa project, which encompasses the Muzarabani Prospect believed to have multi-trillion cubic feet worth of liquids and rich in conventional gas-condensate since late 2018.
In a statement on Monday, IEL said EMA had granted Geo Associates (Private) Limited, IEL’s 80% owned subsidiary and holder of Special Grant 4571 for the exploration of oil and gas, permission to operate. These operations are in accordance with part XI of the Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20:27) subject to certain specified terms and conditions that are normal for such an authority.
“The approval of the environmental management plan concludes the permitting requirements and enables the company to commence and undertake activities in the field, including seismic acquisition and exploration drilling. The EIA study was conducted by independent environmental consultants, the Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre (SIRDC),” IEL said.
The estimated drilling cost for its gas and oil project in the Muzarabani area ranges between US$5,2 million and US$16,4 million.
“The full EIA assessment included field surveys and baseline measurements of hydrology, ecology, environmental, archaeological, hydrogeological, soil surveys and socioeconomic and community consultations of the key project stakeholders, local leaders, relevant government ministries and government extension offices,” IEL said.
IEL said the community information sessions were well-attended with up to 1 000 participants at some meetings.
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According to IEL, the local communities in the Muzarabani and Mbire districts and Mashonaland Central province pledged full support for the project.
Additional submissions from non-governmental organisations and private commercial entities present in the study area were also received following the initial EIA assessment by the regulator in May.
“The issuing of the EIA licence is a significant milestone for the Cabora Bassa Project and marks the progression from the primarily desktop studies phase to the on-ground activity phase of our exploration campaign. The support and feedback we have received demonstrates the cooperation of stakeholders and shareholders who are all determined to advance this project for the benefit of the community and the country,” IEL managing director Scott Macmillan said.
“Although there have been some delays experienced due to COVID-19-enforced restrictions in the country, the company has made excellent progress recently having secured our EIA, investment licence and tenure extension in the last week.”
He said IEL continued to advance negotiations for the production sharing agreement with the Zimbabwe government through the technical committee and its legal representatives and would provide further details as appropriate.
In IEL’s new quarterly statement ended June 2020, the firm had total available funding for future operating activities of nearly AUD1,5 million (US$1 064 941,20). And over the past 12 months ended June 2020, IEL incurred a loss of AUD1,51 million (US$1,07 million) from net cash used in operating activities.