Environment protection agency, Environmental Management Agency (Ema), has pounced on two Chinese coal mining companies after villagers in Hwange’s Makwika area complained that the firms were discharging pollutants into their water sources.
The villagers claim that the pollutants have caused massive deaths of fish and other aquatic life in the village dams and rivers.
Greater Whange Residents Trust chairperson Fidelis Chima said: “We received information that certain coal mining companies are discharging coal emissions into the water point at Makwika village, resulting in death of fish, and sadly people are selling the fish to residents of Makwika.
“We have, however, engaged Ema and they promised to make investigations. We have confidence that Ema will act on the matter and bring perpetrators to justice. This is happening at RAM 12 water point, a small dam near Makwika village.”
EMA provincial manager Chipo Mpofu-Zuze confirmed receiving the report.
“Yes we received a report of this nature from an anonymous caller on March 2. We conducted investigations at Open Cast Water Point Number 3 Hwange Colliery Company Mine Concession. Two companies Dingson Colliery and Zhong Jian Investments which are HCCL contractors were found (dewatering) pumping water out of their mining pits into the environment with the discharge getting into Number 3 main canal,” Mpofu-Zuze said.
“Environmental Protection Orders in terms of section 37 of the Environmental Management Act (Cap 20:27) were issued ordering them to avoid pumping into the environment until they have adequate and sustainable measures to handle their mine water, and prove that the water quality meets acceptable levels for disposal into the environment in line with environmental protection regulations.”
Mpofu-Zuze said both entities were issued with level 14 penalties for contravening the provisions of Section 57 of the Environmental Management Act Chapter 20:27 on disposal of effluent in such a manner as to cause environmental pollution.
“The agency went on to collect water samples from the discharge points for analysis and is waiting for the results. There are two HCCL contractors namely Dingson Colliery and Zhong Jian Investments. The period for the payment of the tickets issued to the two companies has not yet lapsed and will lapse on 9 March 2023. Failure to pay on time will result in a docket being opened with the police.”
Mpofu-Zuze added that coal mine water is detrimental to aquatic life, particularly fish if it is not treated.