Ten companies mining in the Hwange National Park were left counting their losses after the government on Tuesday buckled under pressure and banned all mining activities in parks.
According to Zim Morning Post, these companies include one owned by the Zimbabwe National Army, another by business tycoon Billy Rautenbach, Efrochine Energy and Zhongxin Mining Group that belongs to a Chinese national.
Regardless of being given the greenlight by the Mines Ministry, the companies were allegedly extracting coal without Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificates.
“All the ten companies which are mining in Hwange had prospectus’ licences, letters of consent as well as Special Grants given them by the Mines ministry as well as a Letter of No Objection, which is given by the Director General of ZimParks but did not have the EIA certificate which is given by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).
“As EMA, we know for sure that no EIA certification for mining in any national park has been granted, so how were these mines operating?” a top official within EMA told Zim Morning Post.
The Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) welcomed the move by the government.
“CNRG welcomes government decision to ban all mining activities in areas held by National Parks and the undertaking to cancel all mining titles held there.
“Mining within national parks is detrimental to wildlife conservation and poses an ecological disaster which was going to obliterate tourism in the country. We consider the ban a step in the right direction.
“There is also a yet to be ascertained company that is already mining gold at Mufurudzi Park. We pray that all these mining titles and others which are unknown to the public will, indeed, be cancelled,” CNRG said in a statement.