Activists oppose Hima quarry project

By Vision Reporter

Added 27th August 2008 03:00 AM

ENVIRONMENTAL activists have again called for the delay of limestone mining at the Dura quarry in Kamwenge district.

By Ibrahim Kasita

ENVIRONMENTAL activists have again called for the delay of limestone mining at the Dura quarry in Kamwenge district.

Hima Cement, a local cement making company, is constructing a 500,000 - tonne cement plant worth $108m.
The company targets Dura limestone quarry as its major source of the raw material for the plant.

The Dura limestone reserves, in use since the 1950s, would enable the production of over 500,000 tonnes of cement annually for the next 25 years.

David Njoroge, the Hima general manager, disclosed that the new plant would save the country over $1b in cement imports when operational.

Njoroge added that the Hima limestone reserves had become insufficient.
However, the rapid economic growth has occasioned severe shortages, which have driven price up to a high of sh30,000 per 50kg bag of cement.
However, local environmentalists will not have any of this.

During a stakeholders’ meeting at Hotel Africana in Kampala over the weekend, the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), presented a draft report which indicated that mining activities at the Dura quarry are prohibited by the law. This is because the quarry is in a national park.

Titled: “Assessment of policy, legal and institutional framework for proposed mining of limestone at Dura quarry, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda,” the report was conducted by Future Dialogues International Consultants.

“There are key legal and policy issues that unless they are satisfactorily addressed, render the proposed mining activity a violation of the legal and policy framework for management of national parks in Uganda,” reads the report.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Hima Cement officials at the meeting declined to make presentations, arguing that debating the issue would be prejudicial.

Early this year, NAPE dragged the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and UWA to court contesting the award of a mining license to the cement company to mine limestone in Dura quarry.

The case is still pending judgement in the High Court. But The New Vision has independently established that Hima Cement carried out an environmental impact assessment as required by law.

Its findings were approved by NEMA, the environment watchdog in 2007.
UWA also gave a nod to the project.

Activists oppose Hima quarry project

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