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Zimbabwe court halts mining at state diamond firm over environment permit

By  MacDonald Dzirutwe | Reuters |

Zimbabwe’s High Court on Tuesday ordered a state diamond company to stop all mining activities because it had not received a permit from the environmental agency allowing it to operate.

The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) was formed in March last year after President Robert Mugabe’s government evicted all diamond mining firms in the Marange fields in the east of the country saying their licences had expired.

A local community lobby group, Marange Development Trust, supported by Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association earlier this year approached the court saying ZCDC breached the law by mining without a licence from Environmental Management Agency (EMA).

But ZCDC had argued that it should be allowed to continue operations until EMA approved its licence application.

Under Zimbabwean law, a mining company can only start operating after carrying out an environmental impact assessment of its project, which should be approved by EMA.

“The first respondent (ZCDC) is hereby interdicted and ordered to desist from conducting any mining operations in Marange district until it has conducted an environmental impact assessment process in accordance with the law and obtained an environmental impact assessment certificate,” Judge David Mangota said in a ruling.

ZCDC officials were not immediately available to comment.