Mana Pools – developments and threats

October 2012

The threat of mining on the Ruckomechi and Chewore Rivers within the World Heritage Site is the latest urgent concern.

The Mining Threat in Mana Pools

In brief a shelf company of Geo Associates Pvt Ltd was given two Special Grants by the Dept of Mines on 9 Sept 2011 to explore for Heavy Mineral Sand Deposits in the Ruckomechi and Chewore Rivers.  In July 2012 the company announced intentions to conduct an EIA for this exploration via a consultancy called IMPACO Pvt Ltd. The Zambezi Society highlighted and responded to proposals for mining exploration in the Ruckomechi and Chewore Rivers and a statement was issued on 13 July 2012.

On 9 August 2012 the "Save Mana Pools" campaign drew "a line in the sand" and launched with an opening statement declaring its intentions to defend Mana Pools from the threats of mining, inappropriate tourism developments and the failure of Zimbabwe's "Environmental Management Authority" and "Ministry of Environment and Tourism" in their responsibility towards preserving this natural heritage.

On 15 August 2012 a letter of concern regarding the proposed mineral and uranium exploration of the UNESCO World Heritage Site was delivered to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development; Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources; Ministry of Tourism & Hospitality; Parliamentary Committee on Mines and Energy; Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism with copies to the Environmental Management Agency; Parks & Wildlife Management Authority; Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.  Document details and outcomes may follow from Zambezi Society in due course.

On 31 August 2012 a stakeholder meeting was convened by IMPACO on behalf of Habbard Investments and a report was issued by Zambezi Society.

In the meantime other resources (legal, mining, media, tourism and conservation) are being marshalled to address various aspects associated with the mining plans and statuses of the World Heritage Site, the Middle Zambezi Biosphere Reserve, IBA listing by Birdlife International and the Trans Frontier Conservation Area which includes Zambia's coverage of the Zambezi basin.

Zimbabwe's partners in the tourism industry are actively supporting and encouraging all stakeholders to ensure that the integrity of the region is protected.  The UN World Tourism Organisation General Assembly co-hosted arrangement by Zimbabwe and Zambia in August 2013 will be a good opportunity for all parties to demonstrate their support for protecting this area of "outstanding universal value".

So how can you help?

Tell your friends about the Mana threats and get them to share a call to action by the Zambezi Society.  There's a need for gathering reliable information, they need support for consultancy and legal advice, stakeholder consultations and a Management Plan that covers the lower Zambezi basin. 

Support the "Save Mana Pools" campaign, read the opening statement, contribute towards the call for photos and videos, support the petition sites.
Get your media connections involved so that the problems in the valley don't get ignored, so that the "powers that be" take action to protect this wild heritage.

Where we left off in October 2011...

Lodge developments as proposed by ZPWMA in Sept 2010 haven't progressed through the 2011 season. 
With the rainy season upon us it might be safe to say that we have a respite until the dry season kicks in from May 2012.  There could however be other political pressure to have "favours complete" before May 2012.
UNESCO/IUCN has reported to the World Heritage Committee and specific requests have been made to the Zimbabwean authorities.
Regarding EIA's, no statement is available or formal position known.
Tender recipients are known, commercial and development partners aren't.
Several active campaigns intended to protect Mana Pools from over-development are on the go.

Read on for some historical background including a timeline; maps; a summary of an August 2011 report; what the industry is saying and what we believe next steps should be....

For further information: