Monday, March 4, 2024

Stop the blame game and cancel the mining license in Lower Zambezi National Park-PF

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The opposition PF has advised the UNPD government to cancel the mining license issued to Mwembeshi Resources to operate an open-pit mine in the Lower Zambezi National Park.

In a statement, PF Chairperson for Mines and Minerals Development Pavyuma Kalobo said Zambia cannot afford to have the Minister of Green Economy and the Environment saying one thing while the Presidency says another thing.

Mr. Kalobo who is also PF Wusakile Member of Parliament said allowing mining to proceed in the Lower Zambezi National Park would be a disaster.

He said it is unfortunate that the Minister of Green Economy and the Environment has given a go-ahead to Kangaluwi Copper Mining Project while the Presidency says they are opposed to this project.

Below is Mr. Kalobo’s full statement

STOP THE BLAME GAME AND PROVIDE POLICY COHERENCY ON KANGALUWI COPPER MINE IN LOWER ZAMBEZI

Government needs policy consistency to nip in the bud the environmental disaster that will engulf Lower Zambezi National Park should Kangaluwi open-pit copper mine go ahead.

It is clear that public opinion outweighs any business interests the protagonists of this ill-conceived mining project are advancing. It is unfortunate that the Minister of Green Economy and the Environment has given a go-ahead to Kangaluwi Copper Mining Project while the Presidency says they are opposed to this project.

For nearly 100 years since commercial copper mining started in Zambia in 1925, the country has been left with gaping holes, broken roads, limping railway systems, environmental pollution in mining communities and a huge public debt. One need not look further than the lead-poisoned town of Kabwe, the stunted trees and malnourished vegetation of Chambishi, Kansuswa, Wusakile and Roan mine townships to understand the price we have paid in terms of environmental degradation.

This is what open-pit copper mining will do to the fragile eco-system in Lower Zambezi National Park and the surrounding game reserves of Chiawa, Luano and Rufunsa. It is a well-known fact that in open-pit mining, 90 percent of what is mined is soil which has to be dumped somewhere while about 10 percent of copper ore has to be smelted to extract copper.

Whenever the rains fall and whenever the winds blow, the toxic elements in the mine dumpsites and the Sulphur emissions from copper smelters find their way into river systems, underground water and surface soils. So toxic are these elements that even iron roofing sheets on houses built West of copper smelters in mine compounds on the Copperbelt have been corroded and destroyed.

Should Kangaluwi Copper Mine project be allowed to straddle the middle of the Lower Zambezi National Park, where the Zambezi and the Kafue River systems converge, the damage to vegetation, aquatic life, flora and fauna will be so huge that human-animal conflict will be exacerbated as the animal population in that fragile eco-system scatters in search of food. As for the anticipated job creation, that would not be realized because digital mining has made it possible for machines – huge one for that matter – to dig, carry, crush and smelt copper ore with fewer human beings at the controls.

Such is the heavy price we have paid for embracing automation without paying much attention to a just transition and appropriate technologies that can deliver jobs and investments in the so-called green economies and green jobs. The UPND Government will do well by levelling commercial gold and manganese mining which are being done in a haphazard manner.

Existing large copper mines also need to pay fair taxes given the high demand for copper and super commodity prices on the international market.

Getting our act right on gold, manganese, copper, cobalt and gemstones mining is a lesser evil than the blame game we are seeing from Kangaluwi Copper Mine Project.

Where public opinion outweighs business interests, the presidency has but one option – which is – to cancel the mining license in Lower Zambezi National Park. We cannot afford to have the Minister of Green Economy and the Environment saying one thing while the Presidency says another thing.

Policy coherence is needed on this matter.

Issued on Monday, 7th February 2022
By Hon. Pavyuma Kalobo
MP – Wusakile Constituency
Chairman – Mines and Minerals Development, Patriotic Front (PF)

11 COMMENTS

  1. What has changed from the time PF, on appeal, approved the mining?
    O how hypocritical PF can be!

    Now, they suddenly care, about the environmental consequences of the mining?
    Had PF won the August 12 elections, this sudden and suspicious U- turn would never have been occurred.

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  2. If I get this right, Pavyuma is not absolving the PF from the blame, but is concerned with contradicting statements coming from government officials. It like you say goodbye but you don’t go.

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  3. HH wants the mine to go through, any opposition from him is a smoke screen.
    Why ain’t journalists asking him these questions whenever he is at the airport?
    He has now stopped having press conferences for fear of being asked such questions.

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  4. I stay in lower Zambezi and us the residents whole heartedly welcome this mining venture in our area. when was the referendum ever held for people to start advocating for the cancellation of this mine, stay away, sort out your own issues in your areas. If it is PF , it failed to give us jobs and should keep very quiet

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  5. If we didnt have an abentee President in LAZY LUNGU this issue would have been cancelled..he kept kicking the can down the road after helping themselves to kickbacks

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  6. Upnd are just good at talking. They made all sorts of promises and criticised us. We gave them the instruments of power which allows them to change things, and yet here they are still blaming pf. Upnd you are useless f00Is all of you. Fik0p0 ifi

  7. Well to cancel the license provided there are no penalties to be incurred by the cancellation. Indeed the blame game has to end at some point it shouldn’t be a perpetual song! However some lines of the song can not be immediately erased as like in a war withdrawing troops under pressure plant/leave landmines on the trail as they retreat! Difficult to understand that PF in consenting to the project was not mindful of environmental impacts. Now UPND alimuchibe and has to swallow or spit the bitter pill!

  8. Doesn’t the law clearly not state, under the constitution of the country, that all protected areas: national parks, game reserves, forestry, are out of bounds for any commercial or industrial activities????? This is why there are protected areas. Leaders are not the owners of the land!!!! They do not have any rights to make such irresponsible decisions. Zambians must fight tooth n nail and stop this menacing project immediately. These corporates do not care about the local communities or the indigenous people. If this project is given a go ahead then UPND should fall. They must be removed immediately. How can a Leader make a u-turn on how own documented words and statements regarding the very same issue. How pathetic!!!
    Concerned S.o.N.
    Son of Nation

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