Zimbabwe Zhongxin Coal Mining Group

From Pindula

Zimbabwe Zhongxin Coal Mining Group is a Zimbabwean registered Chinese coal mining company. The company was granted coal minig concession SG5756 and contracted SustiGlobal to do an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) with an undated stakeholders’ questionnaire and again to cover initial exploratory drilling and opening of roads, building camps.[1]

Background

Zimbabwe Zhongxin Coal Mining group is a consortium between a Chinese group and a national firm. Accredited with an operating licence in 2015, the coal mine project, located in the heart of Hwange, was to cover 105 square kilometres (km²). Moreover, it would be located in one of the two densely wooded areas of the park.

Representatives of two Chinese firms, Afrochine Energy and Zimbabwe Zhongxin Coal Mining Group were arrested but immediately returned with two special grants issued by president Emmerson Mnangagwa. Only the president can issue a mining special grant in Zimbabwe especially relating to coal, oil and gas.[2] This sparked a global outcry and led to a High Court challenge by Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA).[3]

Hwange National Park Coal Mining Activities

The coal mining environmental impact in Hwange emerged this week after Bhejane Trust, a wildlife conservation group published evidence that some Chinese companies were already "drilling core samples for coal" after the government "allocated (them) two coal mining concessions" in the middle of Hwange National Park.[4]

The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) filed court papers warning that the park would turn into a "site for drilling, land clearance, road building and geological surveys" if coal exploration went ahead. And after the court application the Minister of Information, Monica Mutsvangwa, announced the ban on mining with immediate effect.[5]

The decision was reached following an urgent chamber application filed at the High Court by Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) challenging the decision to grant concessions to Afrochine Energy and the Zimbabwe Zhongxin Coal Mining Group inside the Hwange National Park, and the government was left with no other option but to reverse its decision.

On 16 September 2020, Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Owen Tagu has struck off the roll a case where the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) and a Hwange resident sought to bar a Chinese mining firm, Zhongxin Mining Group Tongmao Coal Company (Pvt) Ltd (Zimbabwe Zhongxin Coal Mining Group), from conducting coal mining operations inside Hwange National Park.

“Having considered the papers filed of record, it would seem while the necessary paperwork was done, some appear to have been done after the special grants were issued. While the matter on the face of it appears urgent on that basis, the application still is improperly before the court because the relevant parties were not cited and there are material disputes of facts.

“I have been asked to dismiss the application, however I feel the appropriate action at this stage is to strike the matter off the roll of urgent matters in view of non-citations of relevant parties and the existence of material disputes of fact,” Justice Tagu ruled.[6]

References

  1. [1], New Zimbabwe, Published: 3 September, 2020, Accessed: 15 September, 2020
  2. [2], ICLG, Accessed: 16 September, 2020
  3. John Cassim, [3], AA, Published: 9 September, 2020, Accessed: 15 September, 2020
  4. Tawanda Karombo, [4], Quartz Africa, Published: 3 September, 2020, Accessed: 15 September, 2020
  5. [5], BBC, Published: 9 September, 2020, Accessed: 15 September, 2020
  6. Andrew Kunambura/Desmond Chingarande, [6], Newsday, Published: 16 September, 2020, Accessed: 16 September, 2020