Zimbabwe Bans Coal Mining In All Its National Parks
Zimbabwe has banned coal mining in all its national parks, reversing a deal it had allowing China to search for coal there.
The decision comes following campaigners expressing concerns about ‘ecological degradation’ in Zimbabwe’s parks as well as the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association threatening legal action.
Its grounds for a potential lawsuit were based on mining prospecting being undertaken without an environmental impact assessment certificate having been issued and therefore in violation of the Environmental Management Act.
Reportedly two firms had been given licenses for coal mining in Hwange, the country’s largest park that’s home to more than 40,000 elephants as well as several other species.
The news of the coal mining decisions reversal came on Tuesday, September 8, following a cabinet meeting. Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the mining ban would take immediate effect. As per BBC News she said, ‘Steps are being undertaken to immediately cancel all mining titles held in national parks.’
Mutsvangwa also announced a ban on mining along most river beds, in a decision that would affect small-scale Chinese and local gold miners.
Mining in southern African country’s national parks is a ‘widespread’ problem with coal being their most used source of energy, reported The New York Times.
Shamiso Mtisi, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association deputy director explained:
There is gold and diamond mining going on in several national parks across the country, it’s not just in Hwange. That’s a major threat to biodiversity and to tourism. It’s an economic issue, you cannot just rely on mining, you need to leverage on other sectors such as tourism.
The association is hoping to soon see legally binding documents banning the mining.
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