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Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Hwange mining companies challenged to be more responsible

Story by Mhlomuli Ncube

GOVERNMENT has moved in to avert environmental challenges posed by mining activities in Hwange.

As the mining town of Hwange continues to expand in the wake of more investment in the sector, it has come with new environmental challenges.

Pollution, acid drainage and land degradation are some of the challenges raised during a no holds barred stakeholders meeting attended by mining companies, government, and the local community in Hwange this Thursday.

“Besides coal mining companies, we now have two operational coking plants and many more are at various stages of development. Main issues of concern in the district are air pollution, we have seen a significant increase in air pollution over the years. Dust from vehicles within houses is also increasing. Some of the mining companies are not committing to dust suppression, there is a lot of inconsistencies in dust suppression on the roads. Water pollution is also another big problem. The famous Deka and Lukosi rivers are our most affected water sources. Acid mine drainage is a legacy issue also,” said EMA district environmental officer, Ms Nothani Ndlovu.

The residents are convinced that mining companies should be held responsible for their actions and focus more on social responsibility, ‘We want them to be more active in funding development to compensate for the damage the environment incur. May they also partner Hwange Colliery in repairing infrastructure which the company set up.”

Government concurs with the views and agrees on the need to strike a balance between mining and environmental stewardship.

“They are welcome to do business. We want them to however have a strong environmental rehabilitation programme and also fix infrastructure which is damaged by the huge haulage trucks,” noted Matabeleland North Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Honourable Richard Moyo.

Meanwhile, the country’s oldest mining entity, Hwange Colliery Company has received thumbs up for its environmental stewardship.

Its acid drainage treatment plants and infrastructure development programmes have been cited as a template, which other companies should adopt to address environmental challenges.

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