Back to Index
grow to halt planned mining at Mana Pools
Bell, SW Radio Africa
Calls are growing for urgent intervention to stop the planned mining
operations at Mana Pools in Zimbabwe, with conservationists warning
that the UNESCO World Heritage Site faces irreparable destruction
if the plans are carried out.
There are already
plans being implemented for the construction of tourism camps, which
have been approved by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).
Conservation groups like the Zambezi Society have warned
that: "Not only will these developments inevitably increase
tourism impacts on the already-impacted and fragile alluvial eco-system
of the Mana Pools floodplain, but restrict public access to popular
and scenic places like Mana River Mouth."
But it is the
latest plans that have conservationists and members of the public
up in arms, with an intention to allow the prospecting and exploration
of Mana Pools for heavy mineral sand deposits. The mining plans,
if they go ahead, will ultimately see the ruination of the site,
with noisy, destructive strip mining being the preferred method
to mine for the sand deposits. The natural, physical beauty of the
area will become a mining pit while the wildlife faces potential
and exploration licences for the area were granted last September
to a mining firm called GeoAssociates, a locally owned company,
to mine for heavy mineral sand deposits in Ruckomechi and Chewore
rivers in the Zambezi Valley. The Valley was apparently chosen because
it is rich in the sand deposits.
as well as conservation and tourism groups, have expressed their
outrage to the plans. According to the Zambezi Society, the Mana
Pools status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site "means that it is a
property of Outstanding Universal
Value (OUV) because of its cultural and/or natural significance
which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and
to be of common importance for present and future generations of
the permanent protection of this heritage is of the highest importance,
(not only to Zimbabweans) but to the international community as
a whole," the Zambezi Society said.
The EMA has
reportedly approved the plans, but the public have been urged to
submit their comments and concerns as apart of an investigation
into the environmental impact of the mining operations. At the same
time, online petitions have also been started to try and drum up
support to stop the mining operations.
from the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force told SW Radio Africa on
Wednesday that the threat to Mana Pools is not isolated, and the
general lack of rule of law in Zimbabwe means the environment is
being widely exploited.
about 20 licenses for mining that have been granted to the Chinese
in Hwange. We have the conservancies being over run with invaders.
There aren't any environmental assessments being done,"
He added: "Everything
has collapsed in Zimbabwe so the only thing left for them (the government)
is to get involved in these deals. They're supposed to be
the guardians of our wildlife, but greed takes over and this is
urged the international community to intervene and put pressure
on the government to abide by its own laws and commitments to protecting
Zimbabwe's wildlife. He explained that without this intervention,
the destruction of the environment will carry on.
the Change petition targeting the Zambian side of the operations
the Avaaz petition
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.