Bestcrete denied permission to mine sand and gravel
BESTCRETE Aggregates Limited, one of the country's largest manufacturers of building blocks, has been denied permission to mine sand and gravel in the Melajo Forest Reserve at Matura.
In a statement yesterday, the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) said "outstanding issues" with the information provided in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) led to the Authority's decision to deny a Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) for the operation.
The notice of refusal was issued in February for mining at Pine Road, Matura, which falls within the forest reserve.
Bestcrete applied for a CEC for the project in October, 2011 and a series of public consultations followed.
The company was also instructed to conduct an EIA, which was reviewed by the EMA and independent reviewers and was found to be deficient in addressing impact concerns.
Despite requests for additional information from Bestcrete, the EMA stated outstanding issues remained with the information provided, including threats to groundwater due to the mining depth proposed by the company and the environmental sustainability of its rehabilitation plan.
The Authority's chief executive officer Dr Joth Singh said the EMA's role was not to prevent development but to ensure sustainable development.
"Bestcrete was given sufficient opportunity to address the environmental shortcomings of their project and the EMA had no choice but to issue a Notice of Refusal, when the proposed activity continued to demonstrate high environmental impacts without adequate mitigation measures," Singh said.
"Quarrying is particularly devastating to the environment and as such the EIA review teams would have to see effective management plans for the functioning and rehabilitation of the quarry before they recommend a CEC be granted," he added.
The ANSA McAL conglomerate, owners of Bestcrete, did not immediately respond yesterday to the EMA's decision.