Breaking: Golden Lead resumes expansion works despite NEA “Stop Notice”
The notorious Chinese Fishmeal processing plant on the shores of Gunjur has on Wednesday resumed expansion works at Gunjur beach., despite a “Stop Notice” from the National Environment Agency (NEA) and a pending injunction filed by a concerned environmental group to prevent the company from ever expanding their operations beyond their current premises.
The notice to stop all ongoing extension works, and to evacuate all equipment and personnel on site immediately was delivered to Golden Lead on 10th March 2021. According to the said "Stop Notice", the decision of the environment body to order for the stopping of all extension works at the Fishmeal plant was as a result of Golden Lead’s failure to apply for, and obtain approval for the extension of the Fishmeal plant as per Regulation 29 of the Environment Impact Assessment Regulation 2014.
GunjurOnline made several calls to NEA to establish the circumstances of Golden Lead's resumption of expansion work but to no avail. What we know is that Golden Lead is back-filling a portion a land between the company's fence and the waters towards beach.
This begs the question: Why has Golden Lead resumed their expansion works towards the beach when they were ordered to stop a few months ago? Additionally, there is a pending injunction hearing at the courts which seeks to prevent the company from ever expanding into the women vegetable gardens.
In a letter dated 10th March 2021, Golden Lead was told it has contravened the NEA environmental approval for the company to construct and operate a Fishmeal processing plant based on “what was stated in (Golden Lead’s) screening submission and within area of the land provided”, as confirmed to Golden Lead in an NEA letter dated 13th October 2015.
Having failed to apply for and obtain variation of the purpose and area of the operations of the Fishmeal plant, the company gives NEA grounds for the revocation/cancellation of the EIA granted to Golden Lead on 13th October 2015. Furthermore, Golden Lead was reminded in the NEA in the said letter that it risks punishment under s.55 National Environment Management Act Vol.12 Cap 72 >1 Laws of The Gambia 1994.
Golden Lead was urged to comply with the “Stop Notice” by NEA to regularise their status immediately or the environment body will be compelled to take further measures against the company, including revocation of the approval granted for the operation of a Fishmeal factory.
Time and again, Golden Lead wriggle out of tight corners to continue to degrade our environment and deplete our natural resources while the powers that be continue to turn a blind eye. NEA must come out to clarify why Golden Lead is back-filling an area towards the waters and outside their fenced premises,