Govt to tighten coal min­ing li­cence re­quire­ments

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle -

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

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