- September 5, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
The environmental watchdog, Center for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) Executive Director Farai Maguwu said the issuance of Special Grants to two Chinese Mining firms, Afrochine and Zhongxin Coal Mining Group in Hwange Nation Park is an attack on the tourism sector.
According to Mugawu, the tourism sector has the potential to be a multibillion-dollar industry if it is well funded and invested into, he said that the move by the government to turn the Hwange National Park into a mine will chase away many tourists from visiting the country.
“That’s an attack on the tourism sector which has the potential to be a multi-billion economy if well developed.
The tourism sector is very sensitive, these reports will turn a significant number of tourists away and render thousands jobless in addition to the loss of revenues.” said Muguwu.
Zimbabweans across the political, social, and economic divide have expressed concern over the government’s decision to issue a special grant in Hwange National Park, the park which is home to 10 percent of Africa’s last wild elephants.
Earlier this year, villagers in Lukosi in Hwange wrote to the Hwange Rural District Council to complain about air and land pollution caused by Zhongxin trucks along Nekabandama road. The community says pollution has put homes, schools, clinics, and irrigation schemes at risk. Communities around Deka River have also protested about the pollution of water by mining companies upstream.
“We beseech the Hwange Rural District Council to exercise its constitutional role and ensure the company engages in dust suppression, secure sustainable development through the surfacing of the road leading to Zimbabwe Zhongxin Coking Company plant in the shortest possible time and ensure that the company fulfills its obligation to the community as per their pledge during consultations with the community.” reads the petition by the community.
An increase in mining and mining-related activities in the Hwange National park is displacing animals from their natural habitats to human settlements, leading to frequent human-animal confrontations.
According to Zimbabweans, allowing the Chinese to mine in Hwange National Park would be deliberately destroying the environment, rare wildlife species, and their habitat. The government should not be abetting the destruction of wildlife habitats by granting special mining concessions to Chinese companies to mine in protected areas given the history of Chinese firms’ failure to adhere to environmental rights.