Monday, 31 August 2020

Water Regulator Shuts Down Dangote's Illegal Quarry

By Paul Shalala
WARMA statement

From the start, the civil society insisted that it was an illegal activity. 

But Dangote Cement went ahead and built its limestone quarry on the Mwatishi stream in Masaiti District on the Copperbelt. 

This blocked the stream completely, depriving 12 villages of water. 

And now, the Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) has confirmed the illegality. 

WARMA Public Relations Officer Joshua Kapila says Dangote Cement did not get permission to construct the quarry on the stream. 

“WARMA has not yet granted a permit to Dangote Cement to operate a quarry……….. though the cement firm has applied for the permit which is yet to be granted,” said Kapila in a statement. 

Mr. Kapila says the firm has since been ordered to immediately halt operations as the matter is being investigated. 

“The company has since been informed to cease the operation of the quarry pending determination of their permit application,” he added. 

According to the Water Resources Management Act of 2011, any activity on a water body is supposed to be approved by WARMA. 

This involves dewatering, distribution of water for any other use, construct or acquire any water works. 

“This is a good move by WARMA. But we expect them to go even further and order Dangote Cement to restore the stream to its original state,” said Archie Mulunda, a lands expert. 

Initially, Dangote Cement had claimed that it had authorisation for the quarry. 

After the matter was exposed by civil society, the company started pumping water to the stream through pipes but this was NOT sustainable.

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