Minister Nzovu threatens sanctions on investors whose business practices ignore approved standards


Government says investors coming into the country should adopt the same safety and environmental standards applied in their countries when undertaking development projects.

Minister of Green Economy and Environment, Collins Nzovu, said it was disappointing that investors failed to follow the laid down procedures and rules when they want to invest in the country.

Nzovu was in Mumbwa District with a team of officers from the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) to among other things monitor compliance for the approved projects and to identify all illegal mining activities in the area.

He said in a statement on Saturday that what was happening in the mining industries cannot be tolerated in their countries yet the same standards are not applied in Zambia.

“The mining facilities need to seriously deal with dust by employing appropriate suppression methods. The people are in danger … they can’t hold mercury polluted water with their bare hands, I saw a pregnant woman washing within the mining area using the mercury polluted water which is dangerous. There are too many processing plants operating without following the law,” he said.

Nzovu said government had done enough talking and it was now time to act.

He said the processing gold plants near rivers/streams, dambo areas and dams should not be allowed to continue operating but guided to relocate due to the impact that the chemicals being used can cause to humans, animals and aquatic life.

“One of the plants was found complying with approval conditions which requires that all workers and contractors are provided with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),” he said.

Nzovu said pollution from mining activities is one of the biggest dangers to the environment as it uses dangerous chemicals.

Read More: Govt threatens to shut mining companies breaking set regulations

ZEMA Acting Manager Operations, Webby Simwayi, said all processing and mining plants observed operating contrary to the requirements of the EMA No. 12 of 2011 would be dealt with accordingly.

Chairperson for Matala Ward, Paris Heempwe, said there were complaints that animals were dying from drinking the contaminated water from the gold processing plants.

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