Another Company Granted Permission To Mine Coal In Hwange
21 August 2021
The government has granted Mutagech Logistics (Pvt) Ltd, a Chinese mining firm, a special coal mining grant, sparking an outcry from locals.
Locals fear the coal-mining activities will harm the environment, threaten irrigation activities, grazing and farmland, pollute Kalope Dam and cause displacement of the community.
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A special grant is a type of mining title that gives the user rights to extract resources in an area previously earmarked for other land use (reserved area).
Hwange Residents Trust (RST) chairperson Fidelis Chuma told the News Hawks in an interview that mining companies are not consulting with residents. He said:
The Trust is vehemently opposed to the project as it is situated close to Kalope Dam and Diki Irrigation. It’s so sad that every inch in Hwange is being dug in search of fossil fuel when the country should adopt clean energy such as solar and hydropower.
These investors have devised ways of consulting only government departments, village heads and chiefs without consulting the affected villagers. They know that government departments, village heads and chiefs will never oppose such projects no matter how harmful they are.
Mugatech projects manager Donald Nkosana claimed the company conducted “extensive consultations” with the community, with locals asked to sign “consultation forms” to air their views on the project.
Nkosana denied allegations that bicycles given to village heads were bribes to influence their decision on the project saying the gifts were "as a gesture of development and to use for transportation when attending ward meetings.
He also claimed that about 600 locals will be employed by the company.
In September, 2020, the government banned mining activities at all national parks after environmentalists took the government to court for licensing Chinese firms to explore coal in the game park.
Environmental activists say mining inside national parks has since resumed.
More: The News Hawks