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Bucking global trends to cleaner energy, Zimbabwe digs deeper into coal

Government to open more coal mines to boost power supply and jobs, but plan sparks fears over harm to wildlife and rising carbon emissions By Lungelo Ndlovu In contrast to the growing number of countries seeking to wean themselves off coal, Zimbabwe is opening new coal mines that authorities say will allow the country to meet its energy needs and, eventually, become an exporter of the polluting fuel. The government is looking to turn the northwest district of Hwange into a coal hub, with private investors, mostly based in China, investing up to $1bn to build coking mines and thermal coal power plants. But environmentalists say the move — part of a bigger plan to grow mining into a $12bn industry by 2023 — will increase Zimbabwe’s climate-warming carbon emissions and harm the wildlife in its largest natural reserve. “Zimbabwe can’t be going back to coal as if we were in 1985 or 1977, while the whole world is now divesting from coal,” said Khumbulani Maphosa, a climate change activist and head of the Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights. Coking coal, also called metallurgical coal, is turned into a fuel used for smelting in steel production. To get to

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