GOVERNMENT has banned mining in national parks in a move that has effectively stopped the mining work of ten companies within Hwange National Park (HNP).
Zim Morning Post has since learnt that the ten companies mining in the HNP include a company owned by the Zimbabwe National Army, another by business tycoon Billy Rautenberch as well as Efrochine Energy and Zhongxin Mining Group that belongs to a Chinese national.
The mining entities have been extracting coal without an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate, a document required before anyone may carry out any mining activities.
The ban by government extends to all national parks in the country.
The restriction was imposed Wednesday following a public outcry against two Chinese-owned companies who were exploring coal in the HNP.
Zim Morning Post understands for one to start mining in any game reserve, there are five steps that should first be completed.
“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 Enviromental Management Agency (EMA),” a top official within EMA told Zim Morning Post.
“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?” he further said.
The investigation revealed that all documents from the Mines ministry and ZimParks were given with no objection but those by EMA were never granted.
After a public outcry, including regional and international pressure, government moved to ban all mining activities in the country’s national parks.
The move has since been welcomed by various stakeholders.
In a statement, Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) said the move was a step in the right direction.
“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,” CNRG said in a statement.
“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,” CNRG added.
CNRG said it had established that there are other companies holding mining titles in national parks which include Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation in Hwange National Park (Sinamatela area), Zimbabwe Diamond Mining Company and Rusununguko (Pvt) Ltd in
Chimanimani National Park and Lagerty Investments in Chizarira National Park.
“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.