BULAWAYO — The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has said it has granted China Africa Sunlight the green light to go ahead with plans to set a 300 megawatt (MW) power station which is part of the company’s $2,1 billion energy projects to be developed over the next five years.
The environmental impact assessment certificate, which was granted last week, stipulates a number of conditions the company has to meet before work on the project could start.
In January, EMA also granted the same company another certificate for coal mining at its Gwayi concession, which is now expected to start next month.
EMA director of Environmental Management Services, Aaron Chigona, said the certificate has a number of conditions, chief among them the need for China Africa Sunlight to apply for other certificates related to their nature of business.
“As you know the company is into power generation and it has to get the necessary certificates that are related to their nature of business,” Chigona said.
“Another condition is that it has to notify EMA on how they will handle discharge and pollution from their operations.”
He added that since operations will be based in wildlife areas, the company has also been ordered to protect the surrounding areas by constructing fire guards to protect velds and ensuring that they support local industries and communities by helping in anti-poaching initiatives.
“Their operation requires the use of water and the certificate clearly states that they must stick to the water allocation they agreed with the relevant authorities,” Chigona said.
China Africa is a 50/50 joint venture between Zimbabwe’s Old Stone Investments and Shandong Taishan Sunlight of China and plans to spend $2,1 billion in the next five years on power generation, coal mining and methane gas extraction in Matabeleland North.
The projects are expected to be carried out on 100 000 hectares of land and create 4 500 jobs in the next two years.
— The Source