Thursday, February 22, 2024

Nzovu backtracks on Lower Zambezi, says no new decision has been made

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Minister of Green Economy and Environment Collins Nzovu has blamed the Patriotic Front Government as being behind all the decisions on mining in Lower Zambezi National Park.

He said the decisions will however be respected.

“The Decision for Mwembeshi Resources Limited was therefore granted by the PF government. Decisions taken by previous governments are binding.”

“The Government wishes to make it clear that NO NEW DECISION has been made by the UPND Government in relation to mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park.”

Below is the statement.

PRESS RELEASE
MINISTRY OF GREEN ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LUSAKA, 1ST FEBRUARY, 2022

APPROVAL OF MINING IN THE LOWER ZAMBEZI NATIONAL PARK

The Government wishes to make it clear that NO NEW DECISION has been made by the UPND Government in relation to mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park.

In respect of this serious matter, there are legacy issues that have to be addressed stemming from the decision by former officials under the Patriotic Front government to overturn the initial decision by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (“ZEMA”) to reject the proposal.

This government is still committed to ensuring that all commitments made, including greening the economy are adhered to, but this will be done in a legal manner and we will therefore not interfere with any institution of governance.

Government will ensure that it exhausts all proper channels to secure a resolution in line with its commitment to the sustainable management of Zambia’s resources.

This means activity that contributes to the economic, environmental and societal development of the country.

Background

In March 2012, Mwembeshi Resources Limited conducted an Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) to undertake Large-Scale Mining activities under Licence No. 15547-HQ-LML in the Lower Zambezi National Park (“the Project”).

The proposed project was considered and rejected by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (“ZEMA”) on August 31, 2012.

Being dissatisfied with the decision of ZEMA, Mwembeshi Resources Limited appealed against the rejection in accordance with the provisions of section 116 of the Environmental Management Act No. 12 of 2011.

The Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection (as the ministry responsible for the environment was known at the time), Hon Harry Kalaba on 17th January, 2014, allowed the appeal and thereby overturned the decision of ZEMA.

However, Vincent Ziba, Morgan Katati, Noah Zimba, Robert Chimambo, Kasampa J Tembo and David Ngwenyama (the Appellants) filed an appeal to the High Court against the Minister’s decision and obtained a stay of execution of the Minister’s decision (the stay of execution) pending the determination of the appeal.

On 17th October, 2019, the High Court dismissed the Appellants’ Appeal for want of prosecution and further discharged the Stay of Execution.

The effect of the High Court’s ruling was that Mwembeshi Resources Limited was no longer constrained from conducting mining activities in the Lower Zambezi National Park.

The Appellants later lodged an appeal against the decision of the High Court before the Court of Appeal and the same was dismissed on 25th February, 2021.

At the end of the Court process, the approval granted in 2014 had lapsed following the failure to commence project implementation activities within three (3) years from the date of approval.

Mwembeshi Resources Limited therefore re-registered its intention to proceed with the proposed project in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 30 and Part VIII of the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations, Statutory Instrument No. 28 of 1997.

ZEMA proceeded to consider the submission by Mwembeshi Resources Limited in accordance with the provisions of the Environmental Management Act No. 12 of 2011 (“the Act”) and the EIA Regulations and accordingly approved the project subject to strict conditions under Decision letter No. ZEMA/EIA/EIS/726.

The Decision for Mwembeshi Resources Limited was therefore granted by the PF government.

Decisions taken by previous governments are binding.

The New Dawn Government wishes to assure the nation that there is no cause for alarm as there is NO NEW DECISION HAS BEEN MADE.

Issued by:

Hon. Collins Nzovu, MP
Minister
Ministry of Green Economy & Environment

34 COMMENTS

  1. How did we end up with irresponsible and cowards as leaders? For how long are you going to blame the previous regime?
    That’s why the chief coward has now stopped having press conferences or radio phoning calls.

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  2. This is a government of Liars and a conman in state house who promised heaven on earth to get in plot 1 and now blaming PF for everything.Get on with the job

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  3. This is exactly what is happening with Forest 27 ..time wasting meanwhile the construction works are going ahead.

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  4. Imwe ba LT are you reporters or Confusers? What is backtracking and is Nzovu doing that in this report? No he is just looking for scapegoats. PF is whom he wants to blame for what his government is doing

    24
  5. This matter needs serious wisdom; among them, environmental protection, money and investor confidence. Zema chose environmental protection, PF chose money and UPND is choosing investor confidence. What was Harry Kalaba thinking? Since it was signed and is binding…… the mining will go on.

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  6. Time to replace this Minister. A bad decision is a bad decision. Please reverse the decision and let them fight it in court and stand with the people. Zambian lives are stake trusting foreigners to mine in a environmental site. Mines historically have had negative impact where ever you go. There no place on earth with mining activities that is environmentally sustainable. On this one I disagree with UPND. We all know PF was rotten and only there to loot the country.

    18
  7. Chipante Pante Government…looks like they’re tasting the waters….NO EXPLANATION NO BLAMING PF BANDITS….JUST NO MINING IN THE LOWER ZAMBEZI…CASE CLOSED

    14
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  8. Am here investing all my hard earned money back home in Tourism and you want to kill Tourism…useless makakas….JUST NO MINING IN THE LOWER ZAMBEZI……POLITICIANS WHY ARE YOU SO EVIL???? Both PF and UPND you’re all useless

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  9. Its about time we started holding these Politicians accountable…remember the Arab Spring and what happened to the mighty Hosni Mubarak….We should start mass peaceful protest if the Mining in the Lower Zambezi goes ahead and KICK ALL POLITICIANS OUT OF OFFICE INCLUDING DEMAGOGUE PRESIDENT HH

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  10. Very wrong heading, very wrong! The headline should read that Minister blames PF for his government’s decision to proceed with mining.
    His statement is struggling to explain that they are bound to the PF agreement, without highlighting that the President (who played a role in the grant of the exploration licence) does have the power to halt the mining.
    We have capitalists whose focus is the pursuit of money for the bigger companies.
    What’s to stop mining in other national parks now?
    Please change that headline!

    10
  11. You can’t put a mine in a game reserve area imwe bambuli ba pompwe? We spoke against this move under PF and we are speaking against it in the Yupeendi. Save animals reserve area whether you have gold, platinum, or emeralds. Lies after lies by these pathological liars. Just how much have you been corrupted with in this inhumane deal. LEAVE LOWER ZAMBEZI N.P alone for crying out loud. H² it’s high time you started behaving. Your insatiable appetite for money from our assets is so worrying.
    Barely 5 months in office you’re already cutting dark corners deals to strip Zambia of its assets. Awe sure!

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  12. Very clear statement from the minister of Green economy and Environment. In 2019 government in power was a PF government and as expected agreements made by past government are binding. to any in coming government. However, based of the assessment even from this forum the decision to mine in the lower Zambezi is unpopular hinged on firm grounds. Therefore, as a sensible government UPND would not allow mining in the lower Zambezi.

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  13. Please, don’t do this.
    This is detrimental to our natural resouces and the future of our country.
    Stop it.

  14. Why do we have National Parks, and National forest reserves, to protect animals, plants and the environment,, this brings in tourism , who bring in forex, no damage to the area, jobs to locals that are unskilled and then are up skilled.
    What does mining bring? a big hole in the ground, waste rock, erosion, chemicals, poaching and a tiny tax base and jobs for 20 yrs. Tourism revenue lasts forever.
    If the govt can’t stop the court decision to go ahead they can refuse to issue work permits to the senior mine workers, then the mine can’t go ahead without these skilled people. there is no way this company will hire 100% Zambians. Time for HH and Nzovu to grow some balls and put their foot down.
    I can see a lot of foreign tourists boycotting Zambia because of this mining in parks

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  15. LT is a PF mouthpiece.
    After being caught pants down with their recent false articles on this issue, they say UPND is backtracking.
    This was a blunder by the PF. The judgements in the high court and court of appeal were passed in 2019 with the view that PF will win in 2021.
    So dont point any finger at the UPND…
    FIRST ASK BINOCULARS NAKACHINDA TO COMMENT ON THIS.

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  16. @14 Cosmos
    If HH allows this happen then that will be the end of Tourism industry in Zambia and expect Livingstone to die a slow but painful death…

  17. I knew it was coming… blame the PF. I will sell the Gulf Stream…. have we sold it. Very good scapegoat…. PF signed the deal. Guys own up… you are in government not the PF. Empty coffers but everyday billions being released for this and that.

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  18. So this case even went to court but there you are as Minister in charge still blaming the former government. You are in power now overturn the court ruling. Your continuous attack on PF will not take you anywhere

  19. When is this government going to make a decision without mentioning mighty PF.

    Day in day out its PF. Get your balls down and prove to Zambians that you are a government in power.

    People are watching!!

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  20. #21 Henry good morning. The deal was done in 2003 and so Nzovu ( what an ugly name) is telling us Mr Sata as Opposition leader with only one MP authorised it? These guys are lost. Even cadres are issuing statements on Government policy.

  21. What a name “NZOVU” and you want to kill your own habitat as an elephant. The sue was dealt with by the courts and PF shelved the whole project. You wanted to chew and buy shares as usual with crooks like Bally who has interests in mining investments shares and he is pushing to advance his personal business agenda.He steals through acquisition of shares in any mining investment through shell companies registered overseas. We know him.

  22. @22: Deja Vu, its very unfortunate that this government has no vision for our mother Zambia.

    They want to pile all their failures on mighty PF. Hakainde like you have said and I quote ‘I will sell the gulf stream of day 1 in my office’ it hasn’t been sold. Empty coffers, Hakainde made more than 4 international trips under PF budget, Mealie meal is selling between K150 and K180, Fertiliser is selling at K850. K5 petrol is at K20 per litre.

  23. Such a hopeless statement from a govt minister. Even if there were binding agreements then, you are now in power you need to do what is correct. Don’t even blame the PF, this matter was known long before Aug 12th, but the PF government never went ahead because they KNEW that whatever legal determinations, the whole project was against public good. By the way, what is the green economy portfolio for if you cant take care of this challenge… Its a lie that you can do open mining quietly. Ask me, I grew up in Ndola in the 80’s when Bwana Mkubwa mine was operational and 20km away, we could hear the blasting!
    You are really beginning to annoy us ba UPND

  24. Yes a decision made by the previous government stands. UNTIL THE NEW GOVERNMENT OVERTURNS IT. What a weak minister, unbelievable. Minister, we got enough pollution and environmental issues. First SACK the ZEMA board. These guys were appointed by Edgar China Lungu so they’re tainted by corruption. NO MINES IN LOWER ZAMBEZI!

  25. To claim that all decisions made by the previous government are binding, even under the new administration, is totally unacceptable. A new administration has the power to cancel bad deals and contracts, made by the previous administration…deals that are clearly bad for the country. And this especially when the majority of the citizenry register their disapproval of the deals. If you don’t have the power to cancel bad deals made by the previous government, then what did we vote for you for? You’re incompetent and you’re setting yourselves up for dismissal come 2026. We need a strong government that can stand up to the greedy corporate entities, foreign or domestic, that only care about making a profit at the expense of the environment.

  26. This is turning out to be the Dusk government. What happened to all those lovely campaign speeches that spelt out policy movements and shifts? Manje mukuti previous government decisions are binding bati? Zamtel ati bwa?

  27. If you can terminate employees contracts which were signed under PF, you can also cancel this contract. Ask how Sata did it with Lapgreen on ZAMTEL.

  28. It’s too much “Game Blaming” on the previous regime. Come on the so called the “New Dawn Government”. You are on the driving seat. Kindly execute your responsibilities for the well-being of the Zambians. Implement your campaign promises and be honest. Mind you 2026 is not very far.

  29. Liars will ever be liars. They came on a platform of lies. They will continue ruling on lies.Lies in the morning, Lies at noon. Lies in the evening. Government of liars will always be run on lies. Lies will always come out of their mouths. unfortunately, lies have short legs. It has now started catching up with them.

  30. Ati Green what???? Still blaming PIYEFU. We thought we had moved on.Should we bring them back bakabwela ku sorting’a chifukwa mwalepela

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