Hwange National Park Mining storm: Chinese clash with Govt over US$3.7m investment

THE Government-imposed ban on mining in national parks has largely been ignored by the Chinese community carrying out mining activities in Zimbabwe’s mineral-rich Hwange National Park (HNP), Zim Morning Post can report.

The Asian tigers argue they can only stop mining after recovering the US$3.7 million they have invested for the venture.

The Government directive to the above effect was issued on September 8 by Cabinet.

An insider who spoke to Zim Morning Post on condition of anonymity said after obtaining the special grants, Chinese companies Efrochine Energy and Zhongxin Mining Group invested about US$3.7 million in mining equipment.

“There was a standoff between the Chinese investors and Government over the banning of mining activities at HNP, with the Chinese demanding that they be compensated for their losses or that they continue to mine until such time when their investment is fully recovered,” an insider from the Mines ministry told Zim Morning Post.

Besides the purchased mining equipment, the Chinese are also claiming back exploration fees paid to companies that surveyed the area.

The Chinese are said to be pilling blame on Government for issuing out mining grants without following due processes.

“The Chinese are blaming Government for the losses incurred during the whole process hence they have said to continue exploring at HNP,” he added.

The two companies are part of the entities that were mining at the HNP without supporting documents.

Hwange National Park is the country’s largest wildlife reserve situated northwest of the capital Harare.

The Chinese’s special mining grants were cancelled after a public outcry, with the locals accusing the two companies of destroying their heritage and destroying the wildlife habitat.