The government is reconsidering the issue of special mining grants after it was realised that a number of beneficiaries were not using them.
Special mining grants are approved by the President.
Speaking at an indigenisation strategic meeting in Lupane recently, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere said: “I wish Minister (of Mines and Mining Development Obert) Mpofu was here.
“There has been 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.”
Kasukuwere was responding to a participant from Hwange who was seeking clarification on the issue as their company applied to mine in an area that had been granted to someone as a special mining grant. In May, Mpofu said the government had approved 18 concessions in Matabeleland and would be granting more.
However, the special mining grants have raised a storm in the Gwayi area of Matabeleland North.
Conservationists are opposed to the awarding of special coal mining grants in the Gwayi and Hwange area arguing that mining activities would destroy wildlife and contaminate water, thereby affecting tourism.
“There are more than 60 lodges in the Gwayi area, and the national park is employing more than 600 people and the Forestry Commission more than a 1 000 people.
“It is not a new thing that coal has been discovered in the area, but let us look at both resources,” chairperson of the Hwange-Gwayi Dete Conservancy and Tourism Association, Langton Masunda said in a recent interview.
“The environment and wildlife is renewable, but if you establish the mines, the coal will be finished at some point and the wildlife will never return.
“How can someone approve a mine at a national park? What are the effects to the tourism sector which employs a lot of people?”