The following information comes from The Guardian.
Zhongxin Coal Mining Group and Afrochine Smelting, two Chinese mining companies, have been permitted to start impact assessments for drilling, land clearance, road building, and geological surveys in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. Home of 10% of Africa’s wild elephants as well as rhinos, giraffes, cheetahs, and other endangered species, this park is a vital source of income for the country’s tourism industry. If new mines are created, conservationists warn that it will shrink and disturb the habitat of many rare species.
Trevor Lane, a former employee of the Bhejane Trust in Hwange, stated the following:
“This is one of the greatest game parks in the world and the mines would be in one of the most pristine areas of the park. The last black rhino population in Hwange Park lives there, so do 10,000 elephants and 3,000 buffalo.”
“If it goes ahead it will be an end to the park. It would kill the tourist industry which is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Local media has advised that permission for concessions was granted by Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is a strong supporter of coal. However, safari operators and conservation groups are warning that mining could harm the environment.
An employee of Bhejane Trust, a partner of Zimbabwe’s National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Stephen Long, stated the following:
“There is already a lot of Chinese investment in coal in Hwange area outside the park, much of it grossly polluting. Air quality in parts of Hwange must be as bad as most big cities, probably worse, and it is hard not to feel that the Chinese have already polluted their own country and are now exporting their pollution to poor countries such as ours. Zimbabweans are unlikely to see much benefit from the mines.”
President Mnangagwa’s approval of this project is an example of Africa’s biggest problem, corrupt leadership. China’s investment on the continent is for their benefit, not Africa’s. Why African leaders can’t see that is beyond me. Or maybe they can, but they just don’t care.
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Until Next Time…