The halting of mining activities in the Lower Zambezi proposed by Mwembeshi Resources Limited is a bold move and the right decision made by Zambia Environmental Agency’s (ZEMA) and the Government.
This is according to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) under the banner Save Zambezi, Safe Zambezi (SZSZ) in a statement issued on Thursday.
These include WWF Zambia, Conservation Advocates Zambia (CAZ), Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ) and Wildlife Crime Prevention (WCP) who worked to highlight the negative impacts the copper mine would have on the park and surrounding areas.
The CSOs are hopeful the government would take the next step and ensure that the mining license is completely cancelled.
“It reflects well on the environmental oversight in Zambia. It is an important victory for those local communities who rely on farming, fishing, and tourism for their livelihoods in Zambia and neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe and Mozambique, not to mention the environment and wildlife in these areas,” they stated.
WWF Zambia Country Director, Nachilala Nkombo, emphasised that sustainable management of this resource was crucial in securing the futures of over 250 million people in the broader region that depend on it.
“The coalition of NGOs seeks the opportunity to partner with the government to tackle the unemployment and poverty challenges in the area through the creation of sustainable jobs,” Nkombo said.
Green Economy and Environment Minister, Collins Nzovu, told Parliament in a Ministerial Statement this week that he found that ZEMA was right to cancel Mwembeshi Resources Ltd decision letter.
Nzovu said he was guided by the precautionary principle to support measures to prevent environmental degradation.
In August this year, ZEMA cancelled its permission to mine in the Lower Zambezi National Park after Mwembeshi Resources Limited failed to comply with a range of conditions outlined in the original decision letter issued in May 2021.
This decision letter had allowed mining to go ahead – as long as the mining company adhered to the conditions.
The mining company then appealed to the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment’s office, with the Minister announcing this week that the appeal had been rejected.
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