Zimbabwe bans coal mining in Hwange and other game parks

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Zimbabwe has banned mining in all its national parks, reversing a decision to let Chinese firms explore for coal at its famous Hwange game park.
 
The move came after campaigners took the government to court to prevent "ecological degradation" in parks.
 
Two firms had been given a licence to explore for coal in Hwange, Zimbabwe's biggest national park.
 
It is home to more than 40,000 elephants and numerous other species, including the endangered black rhino.
 
In court papers filed on Monday, the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (ZELA) warned that the park would turn into a "site for drilling, land clearance, road building and geological surveys" if coal exploration went ahead.
 
Following a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa announced the ban on mining with immediate effect.
"Steps are being undertaken to immediately cancel all mining titles held in national parks," she said.
 
Ms Mutsvangwa also announced a ban on mining along most river beds, in a decision that would affect small-scale Chinese and local gold miners.
China is a major investor in Zimbabwe and a close ally of the government.
 
It has for a long time pursued a "Look East" policy to boost the struggling economy following sanctions imposed by Western powers angered by the government's human rights record and controversial land reform programme.
 
The Chinese firms had planned to mine in the park in a joint venture with the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.
 

 

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