HomeLocal NewsChinese mine blasts irk Epworth residents

Chinese mine blasts irk Epworth residents

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BY TAPFUMANEI MUCHABAIWA
SCORES of residents in Epworth’s Rockview and Adelaide suburbs have protested over blasting by a Chinese company, Gumtree Mining, accusing it of disturbing their peace through air and water pollution.

The residents also complained that blasting by the company might end up causing their houses to develop cracks.

“The company is causing a lot of destruction to our structures in the area, posing a great risk of a number of hazards. For instance, we are using septic tanks in the area and the blasting might affect them and our water sources could get contaminated. This is a ticking time bomb,” Rockview resident Clever Jiyamwa said.

Another resident, who requested anonymity, said the blasting was taking place about a kilometre away, but its impact could be felt by residents through shaking of their houses.

Despite the complaints by residents, Epworth Local Board town secretary Wilton Mhanda said the Chinese company was operating within the law.

Mhanda said: “We received these complaints soon after the mine began operating in 2020, but we engaged the Mines ministry engineers and a blasting consultancy. The engineers assured us that there was no possibility that the underground blasts would damage the buildings which are over 1km away from the mining site. We visited the area to ascertain the alleged cracked walls in the area, but the engineers did not see the blast-associated cracks on the walls within the area. Our experts did not find any evidence that substantiates the allegations by the
residents.

“Gumtree Mine was actually absolved by the Mines ministry and other experts. Our next target will be to discuss with the land developer in the area who is also blasting. We will have to discuss how best we can reduce the blast shocks because the outcrop blasting has been said to have such an effect, but for now, there is no evidence on the nearby dwellings to suggest that the blasting from the mine is causing any harm on the properties.”

Gumtree Mine’s environmental impact assessment consultant Jairos Nzvimba said: “The company is registered through all responsible and relevant authorities. The vibrations that occur at the mining pit cannot cause harm to any dwellings given the distance of the mine from the residential area. Another factor to look at is the location of the mine where we have rivers surrounding the area. The existence of these rivers is evidence that there is no possibility for vibrations to take place.

“The company does blasting once a month and the magnitude of the blasts does not exceed 500 metres. The mine is situated well over 1km from the nearest dwellings. Residents should be aware that the blasting at the mine cannot affect them because as we go deep down the pit, the vibration impact gets less.”

He said land developers in the area were the ones who were performing surface blasting, which might have an impact on houses.

Efforts to get a comment from the Environmental Management Authority were fruitless as the authority kept on referring NewsDay from one office to the other.

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