Govt to tighten coal mining licence requirements
ZIMBABWE will tighten requirements for companies seeking licences to mine in the country’s Hwange coal belt in order to protect the environment, Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said on Monday.
The coal-rich Hwange district in north-western Zimbabwe is also home to a diverse wildlife population.
Hwange national park, Zimbabwe’s largest has a broad selection of wildlife — over 100 mammal species, including one of the largest elephant populations in the world, and 400 bird species.
Minister Chidhakwa said the Government had this year received more than 80 applications for coal mining licences.
“I have 85 applications . . . imagine all those 85 coal mines operating close to the national park, how can we manage that? It is just not conceivable,” he said.
“We’re going to be strict and come up with a qualifying criteria . . . it is a concern for the environment and management of the coal resource itself..45 of them are renewals and we will consider some.”
In 2010, the Government licensed five private firms to mine coal in the Matabeleland North province.
Minister Chidhakwa said the Government would soon publish a Statutory Instrument, which sets minimum standards for coal mining. “The regulations will include world standard designs for equipment to ensure stability and environmental control as well — issues of coal dust, water pollution and fire. These should all be handled properly,” he said. — The Source