Days after environmental rights lawyers filed a court application concerning grants giving exploratory rights to two Chinese companies, the Zimbabwean government on Tuesday banned all mining activities in areas managed by national parks.
According to AFP news agency, Zimbabwe’s authorities had earlier granted Afrochine Energy and Zimbabwe Zhongxin Coal Mining Group licenses to explore for coal in Hwange National Park, a nature reserve that is home to over 45,000 elephants and thousands of other species.
The Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (ZELA) had on Sunday filed an application where they argued that permitting mining in a safe national park constituted a breach of the country’s constitutional obligation to promote conservation and to prevent ecological degradation.
“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,” the minister of information, Monica Mutsvangwa, said on Tuesday.
ZELA had cautioned that Hwange, the biggest and most popular tourist attraction in Zimbabwe, would soon become a site for geological surgeries, drilling, road building and land clearance if coal explorations continued.
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