President Hakainde Hichilema has said that all due processes of the law and other additional due diligence requirements shall be respected over the mining in the lower Zambezi.
Reacting to the backlash over the decision to allow mining to take place in the Lower Zambezi, after being opposed to the project while in opposition, President Hichilema, however, said that this will be carried out before the new administration can guide on the future of the project.
According to a statement released to the media by Presidential Spokesperson Anthony Bwalya, the President has maintained that the environment must and shall receive the maximum protection possible and there shall be no deviation from this commitment to protect the environment, not only in the Lower Zambezi but across the country.
The President noted that as the UPND administration works towards rebuilding the economy, it shall do so in a manner that is environmentally sustainable and that it is important that the economic prosperity endeavors of the current generation must not hurt or jeopardize the growth and success prospects of future generations.
The Head of State said that he deliberately instituted the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment, to emphasize that the new administration’s economic reconstruction agenda that will pay the highest regard to environmental sustainability and protection and that is why the President was quick to not only drive, but also endorse the Green Growth Compact Agreement between the United Kingdom and Zambia, to inject billions of British Pounds of new investment, doubling trade volumes between the two nations and delivering at least 1-hundred million pounds to SMEs in Zambia.
He said this is one of the biggest success stories arising from the President’s attendance of the COP26 Summit in Scotland towards the end of last year.
Yesterday, Golden Party of Zambia Leader Jackson Silavwe and many others opposed Government’s stance to allow the opening of an open pit mining project in the Lower Zambezi National Park.
Green Economy and Environment Minister Collins Nzovu revealed that the open pit mining project in the Lower Zambezi National Park will go ahead but under strict adherence to measures set by ZEMA to limit damage to the environment to a minimum.
But Mr. Silavwe says based on the Zambian Environmental Management Authority report, Government still has the absolute right to cancel the mining licence of the Australian based company, contrary to the court judgement by the High Court to allow open pit mining in the National Park.
He has appealed to President Hakainde to listen to the majority stakeholders and citizens and stop this project, promote tourism and preserve the environment.
Mr. Silavwe said that looking at the current tax regime from the mining sector, tourism is more beneficial to the country in lower Zambezi at the moment.
He said the government should put away business interests for the greater good of the country saying the minerals belong to the nation and can be mined in the future.
Meanwhile, the Zambia National Students Union (ZANASU) has received the move by government to go ahead and award a license that will allow mining activities in the lower Zambezi as regrettable.
ZANASU President Steven Kanyakula said that this development comes at a time when the whole world and Zambia inclusive are trying to mitigate issues of climate change which have contributed to droughts and floods.
In a statement, Mr.Kanyakula said the country should focus its energy on having solutions that will alleviate issues of climate change which impact negatively on the environment.