Former Minister Expresses Discontent with Temporary Halt of Lower Zambezi Mining and Lack of decisiveness from Government


The recent decision by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) to halt mining operations in the Lower Zambezi National Park by Mwembeshi Resources Limited has left stakeholders disappointed. Former Minister of Environment, William Harrington, expressed his dissatisfaction, stating that the decision falls short of stakeholder expectations, as they had hoped for the license to be completely cancelled.

ZEMA ordered Mwembeshi Resources Limited, the company granted a license for copper mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park, to cease all activities within the park. The decision was made due to the company’s failure to comply with the conditions outlined in the decision letter. However, Harrington believes that the current halt in operations is temporary, and once the company fulfills ZEMA’s conditions, mining activities will resume.

Harrington emphasized that the government’s response would have been more meaningful if it had been decisive and canceled the license instead of temporarily halting the works. He expressed concerns that even if a restoration plan is implemented over the next ten years, mining operations can resume afterward as long as the license remains valid and is not withdrawn or canceled.

Stakeholders had hoped for a stronger stance from the government, with calls to protect the delicate ecosystem of the Lower Zambezi National Park. The park is known for its rich biodiversity, including various wildlife species and pristine landscapes. Concerns were raised over the potential environmental impact of mining activities on the park and the long-term consequences for the region’s natural resources.

The decision by ZEMA has sparked discussions about the need for more robust regulations and stricter enforcement to safeguard environmentally sensitive areas in Zambia. The conservation community and concerned citizens have called for greater transparency and involvement of stakeholders in decision-making processes related to mining activities.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the Zambian government has issued a stern warning to mining companies about the severe consequences they will face if they continue to violate environmental protection laws and contribute to pollution. Mines and Minerals Development Minister Paul Kabuswe delivered this message while distributing over K14 million to 50 cooperatives affected by mining activity in Kitwe.

The funds distributed in Kitwe are part of a K58 million allocation under the Zambia Mining and Environmental Restoration and Improvement Project. This initiative aims to support 200 cooperatives in Kabwe, Chingola, Mufulira, and Kitwe that have been impacted by mining activities. Minister Kabuswe stressed the importance of individuals and institutions reporting instances of pollution and called for strong governance mechanisms to ensure responsible mining operations.

Kitwe Mayor Mwaya Mpasa also raised concerns about the impact of the mining sector on service delivery by the local authority, which heavily relies on mining revenue. She urged the minister to expedite efforts to revamp the mining sector to address the existing challenges and ensure sustainable development.


  1. Old man Harrington is right..this govt is just sitting on fence whilst checking the mood of the people its the same with Forest 27, no decision or where they stand just playing it safe for themselves. Back in his day Harrington would have taken this matter to court again

  2. Hon. Harrington is right. HH is waiting for a bigger kickback to issue directive to give a go-ahead for gold rich lower Zambezi copper mine
    If you do not believe me, wait for Chama mine project soon to be in news. HH is a letdown, a robber in the dark.

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