The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) has defended the charging of the US$4 000 grant fees for miners to access mineral-rich claims within its camps saying the money is meant to reclaim the environment and control rampant illegal mining.
According to ZimParks Public Relations Manager Tinashe Farawo, the organisation has been facing a lot of challenges in terms of stopping illegal mining activities within national parks.
“Over the years, there has been a lot of illegal mining activities within the protected areas known as national parks. The authority then found it necessary to regularise some of the mining operations in parts of the three parks namely, Matopos, Chegutu, and Umfurudzi.
“We are not getting any meaningful proceeds from these operations hence the need to charge some fee so that we can rehabilitate these areas after mining because the miners are either unwilling to do so or they don’t have the capacity.
“We have been facing challenges in terms of stopping these illegal activities due to manpower shortages and to date, some of our officers have been attacked by these illegal miners.
“Without doubt our mandate is wildlife conservation not mining but because mining touched one of the SDGs on improving social lives through the creation of employment, we can only restrict them where there are already mining,” he said.