By ZBC Reporter
GOVERNMENT has banned mining in National Parks with immediate effect with measures being undertaken to cancel all mining titles held in such areas.
The decision comes at a time when social media is awash with reports that coal mining concessions in Hwange National Park are impacting negatively leading to the death of elephants last week.
Briefing journalists in Harare, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said the decision was reached after presentations from the Minister of Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando and Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Mangaliso Ndlovu.
“Mining on areas held by National Parks is banned with immediate effect. Steps are being undertaken to immediately cancel all mining titles held in National Parks.
“Cabinet considered a paper which was co-presented by the Ministers of Mines and Mining Development and Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry on the status of riverbed mining/drenching and the environmental challenges thereof,” she said.
The government further took a bold decision regarding riverbed alluvial and riverbed mining on rivers by banning such activities with immediate effect.
“All riverbed alluvial and riverbed mining on rivers is banned with immediate effect, except on the Save and Angwa rivers where desiltation will be allowed under very strict conditions.
“All those holding mining concessions will be given a grace period to be announced to obtain Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and State of Works Plan acceptance by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
“It was noted that the granting of Mining Concessions through mining claims and on a special grant is not a license for resumption of mining. All holders of mining titles are required to obtain approval of EIA and acceptance of Site Plan Works by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. This position will be strictly reinforced by the two ministries responsible for Mines and Environment,” she said.
A stern warning was given to those who fail to regularise Environmental Impact Assessment and Site Plan Works as they will be deemed to be operating illegally and will be subjected to stiff penalties.
The government noted that the objective is to have all mining operations conducted in a manner which does not harm the environment.