The Government of Zimbabwe has with immediate effect banned all mining activities in National Parks and rivers.
The ban comes after there has been growing public outrage after it emerged the Chinese-owned Zhongxin Mining Group Tongmao in partnership with Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) were carrying out coal mining operations at the Hwange National Park.
Speaking during a post-cabinet media briefing on Tuesday, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa revealed that the controversial mining licenses had been withdrawn with immediate effect.
“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.”
“It was noted that the granting of mining concessions through mining claims and on a special grant is not a license for the resumption of mining,” she said.
The government also banned all riverbed alluvial mining with immediate effect, except on the Save and Angwa rivers where desolation will be allowed under very strict conditions.
Mutsvangwa urged all holders of mining titles to obtain approval of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) from the Environment Ministry and acceptance of site plan works from the Ministry Mines and Mining Development.
“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.
“Stiff penalties shall be aimed at all those who are not complying with environmental provisions,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa added that the objective was to have all mining operations conducted in a manner that did not harm the environment adding that stiffer penalties would be imposed on those complying with environmental provisions.