Tension mounts over mining

Conservationists have slammed the approval of mining grants in areas that are rich in wildlife, flora and fauna, saying they destroy the environment and affect tourism.

“The environment is renewable but if you establish the mines, the coal will be finished at some point and all the wildlife will be dead,” said Langton Masunda, Chairperson of the Hwange-Gwayi Dete Conservancy and Tourism Association. “How can someone approve a mine at a national park? What are the effects on the tourism sector which employs a lot of people?”

There are more than 60 lodges in the Gwayi area and the national park employs more than 600 people, while more than 1,000 work for the Forestry Commission.

Natural Resources Forum Coordinator, Cecil Machena, said the granting of mining rights was unsustainable as they did not take care of the environment.

“These special grants will destroy eco-systems resulting in zero benefits for biodiversity conservation which is critical for tourism promotion and development,” he said in an interview this week.

Speaking at an indigenisation strategic meeting in Lupane, recently, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, said there was a “a rethink on special grants after it was realised that a number of people given the grants were not utilising them”.

“We will be looking into the Mines and Minerals Act, so that we extend the ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ policy to also cover special grants,” he said.

In May this year, Mines and Mining Development Minister, Obert Mpofu, said the government had approved 18 mining concessions in Matabeleland and would be granting more.

Post published in: Mining

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