Zimbabwe government officials caved to pressure that came after Chinese coal mining concessions reportedly got allocated in Hwange National Park. Initially, the report of exploration work going on, came from Bhejane Trust, we reported last week.
Zimbabwe bans mining in National Parks after pressure
Reuters reported on Tuesday, that the government said they intend revoking permits to mine in all national parks. They reported that “information minister Monica Mutsvangwa” spoke to reporters about it. She said, “Mining on areas held by national parks is banned with immediate effect. Steps are being undertaken to immediately cancel all mining title held in national parks.”
In a follow-up article, we noted that an indigenous lodge owner, Blessing Munyenyiwa made an emotional appeal. On Facebook, he begged the president to stop the project in Hwange National Park. Plus, “Zimbabwe’s Environmental Law Association, along with Hwange resident, Fedelis Chima, [lodged] an urgent application to prevent the exploration.”
International media howl over mining reports in Hwange
Following our initial report, plenty of media across the world took up the topic. Hwange, possibly most famous as the area where Cecil the lion died, is a unique area. Previously undeveloped, it ranks as one of the few areas of wilderness where African wildlife roams their natural habitat. In fact, it’s a complete habitat, something seldom found in Africa these days.
The Hide reported that the national park “is Zimbabwe’s largest National Park, accounting for an area of 14,651km² being approximately half the size of Belgium.” Actually, on the northern border of the reserve lies Hwange town. Grubby, coal-dusted Hwange town sits just a short drive away from the Sinamatela section of the park. In fact, outside of the national park, many areas with coal fields exist. Hence, the outrage that people planned on mining inside the park.
Elephant populations in Hwange
Hwange carries the Big 5 and a multitude of other animals. But, famously, the elephant population makes up for over half the elephants in the country. In fact, the national herd’s also one of the largest remaining in southern Africa. In recent years, the poisoning of elephants made the headlines. Poaching the elephants already places them under pressure. So, mining would only pressure the animals even more.
The Hwange National Park elephants migrate into neighboring Botswana. And, sometimes lucky visitors to Victoria falls come across them in the streets of the famous resort town. The proposed mining areas affected the Sinamatela and Robins areas of the park. And, neither of these lie very far from Victoria Falls or the Botswana border.
Hopefully, the government of Zimbabwe enacts and implements the immediate cessation of mineral exploration in Hwange National Park.