The Zambian Government has upheld the decision to halt copper mining activities in the Lower Zambezi National Park.
The Save Zambezi, Safe Zambezi coalition, comprised of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and various stakeholders, has applauded the government’s stance in rejecting the appeal lodged by Mwembeshi Resources Limited.
The Ministry of Green Economy and Environment, headed by Minister Collins Nzovu, supported the Zambia Environmental Agency’s (ZEMA) cancellation of the permission granted for copper mining in the park.
This decision was rooted in the precautionary principle, aimed at preventing environmental degradation.
Mwembeshi Resources Limited’s failure to adhere to the outlined conditions led to the cancellation of their permission to mine in the ecologically sensitive Lower Zambezi National Park.
The Minister stated that the company’s response to the violations was unsatisfactory and emphasized the necessity for full compliance before commencing operations in such a delicate environment.
The SZSZ coalition, which includes entities such as WWF Zambia, Conservation Advocates Zambia (CAZ), Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ), and Wildlife Crime Prevention (WCP), played a crucial role in highlighting the adverse impacts that the proposed copper mine would have on the park and its surroundings.
The significance of this decision extends beyond Zambia’s borders, impacting the livelihoods of local communities reliant on farming, fishing, and tourism not only in Zambia but also in neighboring countries like Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
The Lower Zambezi National Park is an integral part of the wider Zambezi basin, crucial for the economic, environmental, and social development of southern Africa.
Ms. Nachilala Nkombo, WWF Zambia Country Director, stressed the importance of sustainable management of this shared resource, critical for the futures of over 250 million people in the region.
The coalition seeks to collaborate with the government to create sustainable jobs and address unemployment and poverty challenges in the area.
The SZSZ coalition expressed hope that the government will completely revoke the mining license and urged stakeholders to focus on bolstering the tourism sector and supporting local community livelihoods in the park.
To show support for the cause, the coalition has launched a petition on Change.org and is urging individuals to join the movement on Facebook.
Additionally, the Zambezi Valley Conservation Network provided an overview of the issue in a recent article, emphasizing the threats posed by the proposed copper mine in the Zambezi Valley Basin.
The rejection of the appeal stands as a testament to the importance of environmental oversight and the commitment to preserving the invaluable natural resources for present and future generations.