Ema sues firm over riverbed mining

THE Environmental Management Agency (Ema) has dragged a local mining firm, Quick Response One (Private) Limited, to the High Court seeking an order to bar it from conducting alluvial gold mining along Dohwe riverbed near Mberengwa, Midlands province

Ema wants the court to direct the company to suspend all mining operations along the riverbed, arguing that the activities were illegal.

In his founding affidavit, Ema director for the Environmental Protection Unit, Christopher Mushava, told the court that the agency had previously ordered the company to pay a $30 000 fine in an attempt to discourage it from conducting illegal mining at the site, but this had not discouraged the firm.

“The respondent was issued with an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate in May 2020 to carry out quarrying and sand abstraction for purposes of supplying material for a housing development project at Mberengwa Centre.

“An inspection that was carried out by the applicant … revealed the following: the respondent had set up a camp site 30 metres close to Dohwe River. About 1,5 hectares of land was cleared of vegetation in preparation for the campsite.

“Following this the respondent was issued a ticket worth $30 000 for unlawfully clearing the site … an order was also served … for the removal of rubble/soil material … that had fallen within 30 metres of the river,” Mushava said.

He, however, said Quick Response had ignored the ticket and Ema’s directive and went on to expand operations by installing a wash plant at the site.

Mushava wants an order barring the company from conducting the mining activities along the riverbed without an EIA certificate, arguing that this was in violation of the Environmental Management Act.

He further said that if the company was allowed to continue its mining activities along the riverbed it would cause insurmountable damage to the surrounding environment and the river system.