Nemc chief tells mining companies that ESIA is mandatory

25Jan 2022
Joseph Mwendapole
The Guardian
Nemc chief tells mining companies that ESIA is mandatory

MINING and other extractive industry projects should first undertake an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment before commencing operations because such a requirement is legally mandated.

Nemc director general, Dr Samuel Gwamaka (C in Kitenge shirt) with Sotta Mining Corporation officials when his delegation visited Nyanzaga Mine in Sengerema district of Mwanza region this week. Photo: Correspondent Joseph Mwendapole.

National Environment Management Council (Nemc)’s Director, Dr Samuel Gwamaka said this week after inspecting activities at Nyanzaga Mine located in Sengerema district of Mwanza region which is owned by Sotta Mining Corporation that in addition, mining projects also need to put in place a strategic plan on how to recover any damages caused by their activities after closure.

"When you need to start mining activities the law require you to undergo IEA and also put a strategic plan of environmental management before you start,” Dr Gwamaka said adding that during the closure of the mine, there is a requirement to improve the environment.

The Nemc chief said mining companies whose projects started before the 2004 Environment Management Act was enacted, face various challenges in environment management against surrounding communities because there was no EIA done.

He added that the government is using a lot of money to remedy the damage caused by miners and other extractive industry players because the law is not heeded to in many cases. "Another challenge that many of the mining companies face is not having a strategic plan on how to properly close the mines through rehabilitation of the environment,” he charged.

Dr Gwamaka further noted that Nemc will put in place strategies to ensure that all challenges that were caused by mining companies prior to the enactment of the 2004 law, rehabilitate the environment upon closure of the projects.

Backing his boss, Nemc’s Director of Law Enforcement, Engineer Redempta Samwel commended Sotta Mining Corporation for taking deliberate steps to ensure that the environment is properly conserved since the starting of the project.

Eng Samwel said the council is mandated to make follow up on the implementation of strategic plans of mining projects to ensure that there is no environment damage left behind when closing down the projects. “As Nemc, our doors are open to everyone who wants to avoid legal challenges,” she noted.

Mean while, Nemc Lake Zone Manager, Jerome Kayombo said he had expected that Nyanzaga Mine will be a good example to other mining companies because Sotta Mining involved environmental experts from the very beginning of the project.

"We will make sure that all mining firms conduct EIA before mining activities start but also have strategic plans in place,” Kayombo noted.