Oil,Mining & Energy

Government Orders Six Gold Processing Companies in Mumbwa District to Stop Operations

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Government has ordered six gold processing companies to stop operations for starting the construction of gold processing plants without written approval from the ZEMA.

Mumbwa, Sunday, 19th November, 2023 – Government has ordered six gold processing plants in Mumbwa District to cease operations as they have no written approval from the Zambia Environmental Management Agency.

Minister of Green Economy and Environment Hon. Eng. Collins Nzovu MP, with officials from the Forestry Department and the Zambia Environmental Management Agency, is on a tour of Central and Copperbelt Provinces to inspect and monitor Forestry and mining activities.

Hon. Nzovu noted that pollution knows no boundary and therefore mining companies which are in the habit of polluting the environment shall be dealt with in accordance to the prescribed laws.

He further noted that pollution levels within Mumbwa District were very high due to illegal mining processing companies that were not following environmental laws. He therefore, tasked Zambia Environmental Management Agency to enhance environmental awareness programmes in order to sensitise the community on the need to protect the environment.

And ZEMA Acting Manager Operations Southern Region Ms. Perine N. Kasonde said the companies are committing an offence by failing to prepare and submit Environmental Impact Assessment to the Agency contrary to Regulation 34(1)(a) of the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations, Statutory Instrument No. 28 of 1997.

Ms. Kasonde said the six companies were ordered to cease all the operations at the sites and told to comply with the Environmental Management act No.12 of 2011 as amended by Act No. 8 of 2023 before they continue their operations. ZEMA will guide the companies through the EIA process.

The companies that were found wanting are: Asal Trading Company; Zoncor Mining Company Limited; Mutumba Women’s Club (Gold processing plant); Gazi Company Limited; PuleRay Company Limited and Orezone Mining and Exploration Limited.

Government has also served Environmental Restoration orders to seven gold processing companies in Mumbwa District for breaching the Environmental Management Act No. 12 of 2011 as amended by Act No. 8 of 2023. The Orders were issued in order compel the companies to put in measures to mitigate the pollution which will result in reducing the risks on human and animal life aswell as the environment.

During the inspections, the facilities were found polluting the environment by releasing untreated waste water in the open environment and improper management of the tailing from gold processing.

The companies Consolidated Gold Co. Zambia Limited; Workman Construction (Z) limited; Orezone Mining and Exploration Limited; Gazi Company Limited; PuleRay Company Limited; Oremine Resources Limited and Mutumba Women’s Club (Gold processing plant) have been ordered to put in measures to remediate the pollution of the environment with regards to waste water from the tailing dams and the management of the tailing.

The team also uncovered 150 tonnes of sulphur the has been abandoned and dumped in the open environment in Mumbwa.

The inspectors managed to get in touch with the transporter and requested for details of the owner of the consignment so that the sulphur can be disposed off in an environmentally sound manner as opposed to dumping it in the open environment.

MGEE Communications Unit