CSOs holding a conference on the Lower Zambezi Mining Saga
CSOs holding a conference on the Lower Zambezi Mining Saga

As CSOs, we would like to join the many other voices across the country and internationally in condemning the planned mining investment in the Lower Zambezi National Park. We are saddened at the fact that despite the effects of climate change being so evident and affecting the livelihoods of citizens with devastating impact on national economy, incidences of environmental damage have continued to rise and sadly some are perpetrated by our leaders who should be in the forefront to lead the crusade against wanton damage of our environment.

The current debate on the mining investment in Lower Zambezi National Park makes a sad reading in a country such as ours where there are clear policies and regulations governing the conservation of our natural resources. Such situations should not even be an issue of debate.

The Lower Zambezi National Park is one of four national parks that generate up to 96% of Zambia’s non-consumptive wildlife tourism revenues. Although the mine is expected to cover about 980 km2, which is about 25% of the park, it is estimated that more than 50% of the national park will be lost. This means that the primary reasons for which the park was initially established will be lost forever. Suffice to mention that the Lower Zambezi National Park was established in 1983 to:

• Conserve biodiversity, including iconic and rare wildlife, forest, and freshwater species, that also ensure ecosystem function;
• Protect the Rufunsa, Chakwenga and Chongwe River watersheds;
• Conserve ecosystem services that also serve as a buffer to climate change impacts; and,
• Provide for scientific knowledge advancement, public education, and tourism development.

With the foregoing, the importance of the Lower Zambezi National Park cannot be overemphasized. The park covers a large stretch of wilderness area along the north-eastern bank of the Zambezi River and the Zambezi River valley is known for abundant wildlife and other natural resources. By allowing mining activities to commence in such a habitat, we risk compromising the rich ecosystem that is home to a variety of fauna and flora. We are also alive to the fact that there are some mining licenses that are already existing in Lower Zambezi, and some are pending renewal; ranging from large scale prospecting, active mining rights and mineral processing to small scale mining licenses.

As CSOs and citizens of this great nation, we feel duty bound to appeal to government to enforce their powers and revoke the license/s that permit mining in national parks for the sake of safeguarding the environment. There is need for urgent intervention by those in power to ensure we are acting in the best interest of our country which is not only for the current generation but also for future generations.

In the recent past, we have heard numerous proclamations by our leaders with regard to climate change and its effects. Shockingly, our actions are not demonstrating the proclaimed commitments to address climate change. Instead, we continue to see actions that are bent on compounding the problem and this poses a risk to this country in terms of its development as nothing can thrive without a healthy environment.

As CSOs, we remain committed to support efforts by government that are aimed at strengthening conservation measures and we shall not keep quiet when we see actions that are promoting damage to our environment. Allowing mining in Lower Zambezi is not a demonstration of commitment to sustain nature and mitigate the impact of climate change. Mining comes with rampant activities in terms of cutting down of trees which are a huge component of the ecosystem and therefore caution must be exercised in allocating areas for such investment.

We are alive to the fact that in 2013, the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) rejected the application by Mwembeshi Resources limited to mine in Lower Zambezi National Park, however the mine appealed their rejection to government who then approved the application by overturning ZEMA decision. This is an indication that there is rampant disregard of procedures and processes and this is evidence that the process of issuance contravened particular sections of the Mines and Minerals act.

It is sad that as a country we continue to fall short in terms of appreciating the benefits of our natural habitats and the ecosystem values. By choosing to disturb the habitat in its current state to accommodate mining is a clear demonstration of our myopic view of the benefits of our environment. The fact that mining contributes to the Zambian economy significantly is a fact we cannot ignore, however, the significance of undertaking the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is to ascertain the extent of the negative effects of the proposed project against the benefits. This is an analysis that is critical in order to appreciate the significance of sustaining the environment beyond direct monetary gains.

As CSOs we believe that wildlife tourism both consumptive and non-consumptive has excellent potential to generate the much-needed foreign exchange which can contribute to addressing several economic challenges including our current debt burden. In 2018 alone, the sub-sector generated about 11 million dollars which is quite significant. Therefore, Lower Zambezi National Park is one of the key national parks that is already contributing high revenue for the country in its current state. Allowing mining in national parks will greatly compromise the economic potential of tourism as a whole.

In view of the above, as CSOs we are making the following recommendations:
• Government should Cancel all pending and existing licenses in the Lower Zambezi National park and any other environmentally sensitive areas.
• Expedite the establishment of strategic environmental assessment regulation with specific reference to designating some regions as non-mining areas, which will therefore mean that there will be non-issuance of any mining licenses in the lower Zambezi and any other ecologically and culturally sensitive regions in Zambia.
• Develop stricter monitoring, environmental audits and other compliance related actions by the Zambia Environment Management Agency (ZEMA) on existing licenses and other economic activities – therefore government should endeavor to allocate enough resources in national budgets that will support ZEMA in terms of monitoring unlike what has been demonstrated in the current proposed national budget.

CSOs holding a conference on the Lower Zambezi Mining Saga
CSOs holding a conference on the Lower Zambezi Mining Saga

Signed by:

ActionAid Zambia
Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD)
WaterAid
Oxfam
Wild Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
Caritas Zambia
NGOCC
Chalimbana River Headwaters Conservation Trust
Chapter One Foundation
Alliance for Community Action
Zitukule Consortium
Care for Nature Zambia
Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM)
Civil Society Organization Environmental Hub

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13 COMMENTS

    • If this President was as serious as he pretended to be on climate change when he was giving his SONA …People shouldn’t even have to fight that hard to save the lower Zambezi, he would have been the first to express disgust and put a stop to it. But as usual ECL reads speeches to which he is not mentally and emotionally attached & with absolutely no desire for call to action. Li loss ba mudala aba

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    • That CSO hogwash we already know. KK gave us the data already. Kindly fill us in as to who this mining company is.

      Is it Afnat Resources Ltd? Who’s their proxy in Zambia? I want to write the Mine owner a letter. Or have a face to face meeting with them. Who owns that mining license?
      If you don’t give us data, Makebi Zulu’s account on this is all I have to work with.
      Damn, why is ECL mute on this?

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    • WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
      1. Makebi’s account is that H² was exposed by the Paradise Paper to have been a Director of a Bermuda company known as AfNat Resources Limited which bought mining licenses at Zambezi Resource Limited.
      2. AfNat Resources Ltd a business, is the creation of an international mining and exploration group focused on investing in and acquiring and developing resource projects, including in particular uranium and nickel assets. Its focus is on projects and investments in Zambia, Togo, Mozambique and other countries of the Southern African Development Community (ie Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia…

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    • … and Zimbabwe).
      3. Kalaba’s account representing Government – the decision to grant Zambezi Resources a licence to mine copper in Lower Zambezi was made by cabinet he cannot be personally blamed for the decision as it was not a personal decision but he personally overruled ZEMA’s decision and he was not alone, the entire cabinet including the President viz MCS had the final say.
      He (Kalaba) however confirmed that he wrote to cabinet recommending the granting of the mine licence and disregarding the order by ZEMA not to proceed.

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    • But the whole of Zambia was like that before miners started their copper mines. Why do we want the copper in the Lower Zambezi to remain in the ground when we have so much unemployment and dont even have electricity? Isnt there a way of mining without too much damage to the environment?

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    • What did the ENVIRONMENTAL group say? If they said “NO” then it is No! The project is going nowhere! It is like HH. He is going nowhere.

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  1. While I dont agree with Idea of mining in a game park, it is import for people to consider how these parks were selected by our colonial masters. If you go tk Geological Survey, u will amazed that most of these parks are situated on high value mineral deposits. The north Luangwa National park for example has very rich deposits of gold and Diamond up north. Most of these deposits were marked with alot of beacons. Some of them have been occupied by white investors who claim to be running Ranches when they are busy mining gold.

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    • Actually almost the whole country is mineralised but we cant mine everywhere. Some parts of the country need to be used for other activities which are equally and maybe more important like our forests and game parks. Climate change is real and nasty. Minning in protected and sensitive areas will just aggravate an already bad situation

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  2. ….wether we do it now or later, the fact is some of these parks will give way to mining activities bcoz of the high deposits of very valuable minerals which are now on demand. What we should be looking at now is to enact laws that will strictly monitor and regulate mining activities in parks such as not constructing mineral processing plants, no polution to rivers and environment, filling back mines as they are mining, no poaching, access to very limited mining locations only, no noise etc. Otherwise mining in game can not be avoided, other countries are doing it but this is not the right time for Zambia bcoz we have no capacity legally to control abuse of resources and manage environmental issues in the parks

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  3. The usual suspects. The bloodthirsty hyenas who have run CSOs since their advent in the mid-90s. Always trying to demand and push GRZ.

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  4. Tourism is positive but we need to find ways to make it pay more. 11 million is nothing – is that figure even right? If it pays it will show

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    • But a game reserve is a protected area.It looks and feels like money has already crossed hands.
      What is going down?
      Makebo’s account is that H² was exposed by the Paradise Paper to have been a Director of a Bermuda company known as AfNat Resources Limited which bought mining licenses at Zambezi Resource Limited.

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