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Mining and EnvironmentNews

Understanding the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in mining

By Brian Makani

MASVINGO (Mining Index) – IN the previous edition of the article published on mining and the environment, a discussion of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was made briefly.

This month’s edition discusses the EIA in detail. As once alluded in the previous edition, mining is one of the prescribed projects or activities under the First Schedule of the Environmental Management Act (Cap 20:27), this entails that it should undergo the EIA process prior to implementation.

Mining destroying timber plantations

What is the purpose of an EIA?

  • The EIA ensures that decision makers consider the environmental, social and economic impacts of their operations when deciding whether or not to proceed with the project.
  • The EIA document itself is a technical tool that identifies, predicts and analyzes impacts on the physical environment, as well as social, cultural and health impacts.
  • It identifies alternatives and mitigation measures to reduce the environmental impacts of a proposed project.
  • The EIA process also serves as an important procedural role in the overall decision making process by promoting transparency in public involvement.

Who conducts the EIA Study?

The developer shall engage a person independent (registered EIA Consultant) of the project who is an expert in environmental planning and management services to prepare the environmental impact assessment report. EMA only receives/accepts EIA reports from registered consultants.

How do I get hold of registered EIA Consultants?

The EIA consultants register is available on the EMA website:

Why is an EIA Important?

  • It helps identify effects and impacts of a proposed projects
  • Assists in project planning and implementation
  • Increases project acceptability, management and profitability
  • Enables stakeholder participation and ensures sustainability
  • It enables compliance with the laws
  • It identifies mitigation measures to reduce, offset or eliminate major impacts

Who should be consulted During the EIA Process?

  • Traditional leaders
  • Local authorities
  • General public
  • Interested parties
  • Communities and other stakeholders found in the area of the intended project

How long is the EIA Valid For?

The initial EIA certificate is valid for two years from the date of issue and is renewable every year thereafter upon timeous submission of quarterly reports. The EIA certificate is not transferable to a new owner in the event of one having sold his mine.

Who carries out Environmental monitoring and audits?

Project developers are expected to adhere to the contents of the EIA report as much as possible during the project implementation and shall submit quarterly progress reports on the implementation of the project. EMA shall carryout bi-annual environmental audits to ensure that all projects being implemented are in compliance with the Environmental Management Plans (EMPs).

*NB: The quarterly reports should always include the area (in hectares) of mined out areas rehabilitated by the mining company. ENDS//

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