Lesotho mining industry faces poor compliance with environmental laws

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Lesotho faces enormous challenges of shortage of staff to ensure compliance of extractive operations with environmental laws and regulations.

According to Lehlohonolo Chefa of the Policy Analysis and Research Institute of Lesotho (PARIL) Lesotho’s department of environment has three experts to monitor environmental impact of mining activities.

“There is need for more experts at the department of environment to implement laws and regulations on environmental protection,” said Chefa during a recent conference aimed at strengthening civil society organisations’ participation in extractive operations.

Earth moving machine working at one of the mining activities in Lesotho.
Earth moving machine working at one of the mining plants in Lesotho.

Evidence of Lesotho’s human resources shortage is borne by the fact that it imports mining skills and related services. The country does not produce mining experts.

In order to overcome this, PARIL recommended that there be established a national environmental and mining authorities to oversee the sector. The institute warned that through ownership of the mines, the government can ensure local communities, investors and companies benefit from the resource endowment.

The Government of Lesotho is in the process of finalising a mining policy in line with the African Mining Vision with a goal of creating “transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and socio-economic development.

 

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