CHUNYA District Commissioner Mary Prisca Mahundi has unveiled the district’s strategic plan for dealing with open mines abandoned by mining companies.
This comes after two girls from Matundasi Ward in Chunya District died after falling in an abandoned open mine. Speaking after visiting one of the open mines, Ms Mahundi reminded miners to be careful and abide by environmental protection rules and regulations to avoid such calamities.
“The government is determined to ensure the environment is protected to reduce or stop catastrophic incidents related to mining activities,” she said, adding that “miners should abide by rules and regulations, which require them to cover open mines before closing down, as leaving them open is dangerous to human beings and other living creatures, including domestic animals.”
Chunya District Geologist Jamillah Ramadhani Chaka said miners had developed a trend to disobey rules and regulations stipulated in their permits issued by the National Environment Management Council (NEMC).
“The law states that whoever wants to engage in mining activities must submit a proposal to NEMC, which indicates that an investor will abide by the Environmental Act and will be responsible for mitigating environmental degradation, including covering up open mines at the end of mining activities,” she said.
Environment Activist Lucas Malangalila explained various environmental hazardous activities, especially by small-scale miners, who had been haphazardly doing their activities and sometimes mining even near water sources.
“The impact is huge especially on mining activities conducted near water sources.
We have decided to mitigate environmental challenges by covering up abandoned open mines and planting trees, especially near water sources,” he said.