Bhejane Trust, a Rhino and wildlife non-profit conservation organization based out of Victoria Falls, has raised concern Government’s allocation of mining concessions to Chinese firms within the Hwange National Park.
The organisation said in a statement:
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COAL MINING IN HWANGE
Our Rhino Monitoring team recently found some Chinese in Hwange Park – we managed to ascertain they were drilling core samples for coal. Parks arrested them and turned them over to the Police.
However, they soon reappeared with a permit giving them the right to carry on in the Park with exploratory drilling. They did this without any consultation with the Area Manager and seem to feel they have a right to go wherever they like to.
We followed up on this and discovered the Government has allocated two coal mining concessions in the middle of Sinamatella and Robins!
The mining concessions are Special Grants which apparently can only be issued by the President, and both been granted to Chinese companies.
A company called SustiGlobal have subsequently sent us Stakeholders Questionnaire forms. One map shows the coal mining concession SG7263 that incorporates Deteema Dam and Masuma Dam, out to a company called Afrochine Energy of the Tsingashan Group of China.
We are not certain to whom else the questionnaire has been sent, and the questionnaires are not dated. The questionnaires are for an EIA for the concessions but only to cover the initial exploratory drilling and opening of roads, building camps, etc. It appears the concession was promulgated in late 2019.
The other concession granted, SG 5756 to the Zimbabwe Zhongxin Coal Mining Group, has also contracted SustiGlobal to do an EIA, again with an undated Stakeholders Questionnaire, and again to cover the initial exploratory drilling and opening of roads, building camps, etc.
However, they have started exploratory work in the Park, so it is not sure if an EIA permit has been granted or not.
Bhejane Trust has replied to the questionnaire and waits to hear back from SustiClobal.
We will be ready to support National parks where required.