Govt stops mining in game reserves

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Zanu PF legislator, Monica Mutsvangwa ....“Let’s think deep as Zimbabweans because, as war veterans, when we went to war, we never fought for a political party — we went there for everyone in the country.”

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

GOVERNMENT yesterday succumbed to pressure and cancelled all mining titles held in all national parks, including the coal mining deal between Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and two Chinese companies in the Hwange National Park.

Addressing a post-Cabinet Press briefing, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said government had taken the decision to revoke all tittles issued by the Mines ministry.

“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,” she said.

The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association had already approached the court seeking to block the Chinese companies — Afrochine Energy, which is part of the Tsingshan Group, and Zimbabwe Zhongxin Coal Mining Group — from prospecting for coal in the Hwange National Park.

Mines minister Winston Chitando said the mining title was granted in 2015 under former President Robert Mugabe.

Government also banned all riverbed mining with immediate effect.

“All 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,” Mutsvangwa said.

Meanwhile, government also relaxed COVID-19 regulations, opening up bars which will now be allowed to sell alcohol.

“Following representations from the Liquor Retailers’ Association seeking permission for liquor retailers to commence operations, Cabinet resolved that operations could resume in line with COVID-19 regulations and on condition that no liquor is consumed at their premises,” she said.

Airports will also be opened for international travellers.

“Cabinet approved the opening up of the country’s skies to both domestic and international flights effective September 10 and October 1, 2020, respectively. Standard operating procedures have been put in place for the reopening of international and some domestic airports,” Mutsvangwa said.