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Government Halts Operations of Six Gold Processing Companies in Mumbwa District

The Zambian government has issued an order for six gold processing plants in Mumbwa District to cease operations immediately due to the absence of written approval from the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA).

Minister of Green Economy and Environment, Hon. Eng. Collins Nzovu MP, accompanied by officials from the Forestry Department and ZEMA, conducted a tour of Central and Copperbelt Provinces to assess forestry and mining activities.

Hon. Nzovu emphasized that environmental pollution has no boundaries and warned mining companies against environmental violations. He directed ZEMA to intensify environmental awareness programs to educate the community on the importance of environmental protection.

ZEMA Acting Manager Operations Southern Region, Mrs. Perine N. Kasonde, stated that the companies violated Regulation 34(1)(a) of the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations, Statutory Instrument No. 28 of 1997, by failing to prepare and submit an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to the agency.

The six companies ordered to cease operations 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. ZEMA will guide these companies through the EIA process before they can resume operations.

Additionally, seven gold processing companies in Mumbwa District received Environmental Restoration orders for violating the Environmental Management Act No. 12 of 2011, as amended by Act No. 8 of 2023. The orders compel the companies to implement measures to mitigate pollution, reducing risks to human, animal life, and the environment.

The companies served with restoration orders include 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). These companies must address the improper management of tailings and untreated wastewater release.

During inspections, the team discovered 150 tonnes of sulfur abandoned in the open environment in Mumbwa. The government has ordered the responsible parties to dispose of the sulfur in an environmentally sound manner.

This intervention by the Zambian government underscores its commitment to enforcing environmental regulations and ensuring responsible mining practices for the well-being of communities and the ecosystem.

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