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Watchdog says more firms mining secretly in game parks despite ban

State-run Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) is among companies that were awarded claims to conduct mining operations in game parks, says the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG).

CNRG in a statement commending the government’s decision to cancel all mining claims in National Parks, added that it hoped the remaining secret titles would “indeed be cancelled”.

“CNRG has established that there are more companies holding mining titles in the National Parks.

“These include Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) in Hwange National Park – Sinamatela area, Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) and Rusununguko Pvt Limited in Chimanimani National Park, Lagerty Investments in Chizarira National Park.

“There is also a yet to be ascertained company that is already mining gold at Umfurudzi 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.

The Cabinet recently succumbed to pressure from environmental activists to reverse special grants for coal prospecting that had been given to two Chinese companies in Hwange National Park.

CNRG said some of the titles being held were being used as cover by poaching syndicates and those involved in the illegal trade of animals.

“There is a huge danger that some of the so-called mining companies applying to mine in national parks are organised crime syndicates seeking to abuse mining licences in order to conduct poaching.

“Poaching and illegal trade in animals and animal parts and illegal trophy hunting are on the rise in Zimbabwe,” CNRG added.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba registered his disagreement with the government’s decision to suspend all mining activities in all Zimbabwean parks.

“This pseudo-scholarship which seeks the respectability of law wants to convince us some parts of Zimbabwe, or any nation on this earth for that matter, is God-designated as a Game Park, as an inviolate haven for wildlife. What frothing idiocy!!!! Hwange, then Wankie National Park was from as far back as 1928 designated a Game Park by HUMANS, not by GOD!!” Charamba said.

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