The High Court sitting in Blantyre will this coming Thursday rule on the preliminary objection made by Chinese quarry mining company Sino Sky Limited on the application for an injunction by community members around Mzedi Hill in Blantyre.
The company, through lawyer Abison Chitukula, objected to the application, saying the High Court did not have jurisdiction to hear such issues as the Mines and Minerals Act of 2019 gives such powers to the Commissioner for Lands.
“Clearly the High Court lacks the requisite jurisdiction to adjudicate and determine the present matter and [it] should thus be dismissed with costs,” skeleton arguments in opposition to the application for the injunction read.
However, community members’ lawyer Ulemu Kanyongolo is of the view that the court has jurisdiction over the matter as it relates to the environment.
“The company is accused of destroying the environment. It has become a nuisance, making noise and air pollution; so, the Environmental Management Act says that anyone who is aggrieved can take the matter to court and that is the basis of our application,” she said.
The communities applied for an injunction restraining Sino Sky from continuing its operations pending conclusion of the case in which they are accusing the company of noise and air pollution arising out of rock blasting.
The community members also allege that houses are developing cracks due to blast-related tremors.
A sworn statement in support of the application by one of the applicants Richard Maulana says operations at the mine pose a serious health risk to people in the area.
“The rock blasting, noise and air pollution have escalated and have resulted in earth movements causing infrastructural concerns to neighbouring structures. A number of houses shake every time there is blasting. Many houses have developed cracks,” the statement reads.