The Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) says the measures that the government has put in place to ensure that the environmental degradation caused by mining activities is adequately managed, are not working effectively.
CEJ Board Chairperson, Vincent Ziba, said most mining companies are not complying with the environmental rules, laws, regulations, and environmental licensing conditions set by the government.
Ziba said this during validation meeting held in Lusaka on Friday for a research paper and a subsequent policy brief on the gap analysis of the Government’s Environmental Protection Fund.
He said the Environmental Protection Fund is one of the measures set by the government to protect the government against the risk of having the obligation to rehabilitate mining areas where the mining license holder fails to do so.
The CEJ Board Chairperson, however, observed that with the current environmental liabilities standing at over $50 million, government stands the risk of having the obligation to undertake the rehabilitation of mining areas.
“With the coming in of the energy transition agenda, mineral extraction is expected to expand in all mineral-rich countries and Zambia is among the countries with rich deposits of transition minerals,” Ziba said.
He said with the anticipated expansion in mineral resource extraction, it is obvious that we shall encounter even more environmental risks if we fail to strengthen environmental protection.
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“Mining is an important industry in Zambia. It provides jobs and contributes to the economy.
However, it is also one of the Country’s leading causes of environmental degradation. Mining activities can cause soil erosion, water pollution, deforestation, and air pollution,” Ziba said.
He said the environmental impacts not only affect the natural resources but also the local communities’ health and well-being.
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