Located in northern Eritrea, the proposed Zara Gold Project comprises open cut mining at the Koka gold deposit and processing of ore at the Zara plant, along with supporting infrastructure including a Tailings Storage Facility (TSF), an accommodation camp and a water supply borefield in the Zara River,10 km from the plant site. An airstrip is proposed for development near the village of Rikeb and an accommodation village. Development of the Project will require relocation of the Koka Valley residents to Geftuo, near Rikeb.
The proponent for the Project is Eritrean-based Zara Mining Share Company (ZMSC). Bioscope Environmental worked with ZMSC from October 2011 to September 2012 on a range of environmental and community issues with assistance from Adelaide-based S7 Consulting and other consultants based in Eritrea and Australia. The work program included:
- Finalisation of the Project’s Social and Environmental Management Plan for construction, operation, rehabilitation and closure.
- Stakeholder engagement with representatives from the State of Eritrea, Zoba Anseba and Sub-zoba Selea’a in relation to the environmental management of the mine, resettlement of local residents, mine closure planning and other issues.
- Co-ordination and technical input to a range of environmental and community studies including TSF site selection, biodiversity and protected species, community health risk assessment and community resettlement.
- Assessment of potential impacts on Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems and other work in relation to water supply development on the Zara River.
Following receipt of SEIA/SEMP approval, ZMSC Mike Kelly advised Bioscope Environmental’s Director, Sonia Finucane, that “The acceptance of the SEIA/SEMP was a major milestone, and your part in the process cannot be underestimated” and that “The work that you and your team completed will certainly be of great help to us in the future”.