Outrage! Zimbabwe’s World Heritage Site, Mana Pools, targeted for oil exploration, endangering animals

The Zimbabwean government has announced plans for a mining exploration at Mana Pools – a designated World Heritage Site, reports News Day.

This according to a notice in the Zimbabwean Government Gazette, as well as the permanent secretary of the Mines and Mining Development Ministry, Pfungwa Kunaka, who announced that Shalom Mining Corporation Private Limited (SMCPL) had applied to explore Mana Pools – declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Mana Pools lies on the southern bank of the Zambezi River which serves as the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The site covers 676,600 hectares spanning the Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore safari areas – home to a remarkable concentration of wild animals, including elephants, buffalo, leopards and cheetahs.

Businesses whose primary mission is to discover and procure fossil fuels now want to explore the area for these materials, which could entail prospecting, exploration, drilling, and production.

“As an organization, over the years, we have been pointing out that mining as an economic activity has both positive and negative impacts on communities, human rights, the environment, rights of workers and the economy,” said the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA).

“Responsible mining is therefore characterized by the awareness of the impacts that mining may have on the economy, environment, communities, human rights and the workers and taking concrete steps to address the impacts. Respect of human rights, fair labor practices, respect of laws, payment of taxes and royalties and safe conditions for workers and preservation of the natural environment are some of the critical aspects of responsible mining.”

In response to the announcement, executive director of Animal Survival International, David Barritt, aid that mining operations would only pollute and destroy the region’s ecosystem. “Moreover, it would open the door to poaching and trafficking of wildlife. If permission is granted to SMCPL, it could result in an ecological disaster with serious ramifications and irreversible damage for Mana Pools.” – Animal Survival

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