Large Coalition Calls on ZEMA to Urgently Halt Mine in the Heart of Lower Zambezi National Park

Lusaka, 21st March 2022: A large coalition of 53 CSOs, traditional leaders, artists, safari operators and other stakeholders has raised serious questions about the approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study that has allowed the controversial Kangaluwi open-pit copper mine planned in the heart of the area to go ahead.

In an advert published in key media across the country, the Save Zambezi, Safe Zambezi coalition has asked the following questions of the mine owner, Mwembeshi Resources Limited, and the Zambian Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA):

  • Why was the addendum to the previously expired EIS approved within JUST SEVEN WORKING DAYS of submission without having followed due process of consultation?
  • Why is this mine being claimed as a Zambian owned project when the major shareholder—Mwembeshi Resources (Bermuda) Ltd—is Chinese owned?
  • Has the Government re-drawn the National Park boundary to allow for this project to proceed outside of the National Park, without having followed due process?
  • Why are documents which form the EIS Addendum submission as well as ZEMA’s Decision Letter not being made public?
  • Why is Mwembeshi Resources claiming that it will create more jobs than tourism in the area? Figures from their own EIS submission clearly indicate that they will have a work force of around 300 jobs in total, of which only a nominal amount of unskilled labour will be employed directly from the area. This is in comparison to more than 1,000 people employed by Tourism and subsidiary industries.
  • Have subsequent EIA’s been conducted for the ZESCO power lines as well as the development of the access road which would have to accommodate the anticipated 50 x 30-ton trucks moving through the escarpment to the Copper Belt via Lusaka every day? This poses a major safety and health risk to the public both in the community, Lusaka City and surrounds as well as an additional threat to the environment.
  • Why are the people of Zambia being kept in the dark and being misinformed?

The Coalition says it is deeply concerned about the process involved in the approval of the EIA, and believes that many Zambians and other concerned people have the same misgivings.

“We, the Save Zambezi, Safe Zambezi coalition of stakeholders – representing the interests of concerned citizens and the people of Zambia – call upon Mbwembeshi Resources Limited and ZEMA to avail the public with answers to our questions and to make public all documentation pertaining to the ZEMA approval from May 2021.

“Until such time, we insist that all development relating to the Kangaluwi Open Cast Copper Mine in the heart of the Lower Zambezi National Park be stopped immediately. The mine will have a potentially devastating impact on people, water, the land and the environment in the entire Southern African region.

“The Coalition renews its call on all Zambians, and everyone who cares about the future of this region, to sign a petition to halt the Kangaluwi mine. You will find the petition on the website, and you will find the petition under the name SaveZambeziSafeZambezi.”


Read the statement 
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Funding Announcement 2021

Dog UnitPhoto by Francois d’Elbee

We are excited to announce that ‘Support to Conservation Personnel and Wildlife Protection in the Lower Zambezi during COVID-19’ is supported by IUCN Save Our Species and co-funded by the European Union. This critical support helps conduct DNPW and Community Scout patrols helping to protect wildlife in the Lower Zambezi as well as helping CLZ retain staff and maintain equipment during a very difficult time.

Update on the Proposed Mine in Lower Zambezi 2021


Earlier this year, the injunction to stop the proposed Kangaluwi open-cast copper mine in the Lower Zambezi National Park, this year the injunction against the mine was dismissed and the Environmental Impact Assessment, which was rejected in 2021, was once again approved. CLZ along with WWF, WCP and other cooperating partners have been working with Giraffe Creatives and Corporate Image on a media campaign aimed at raising public awareness about the mine. The campaign is running over several months and is being promoted across all media channels.


The petition to stop the mine currently has over 20,000 signatures however, we are working to try and increase this number significantly. 

Please sign and share the campaign petition and follow the campaign’s Facebook page for news and further information. 


It is with great concern that it has come to our attention that on the 7th May 2021 Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) issued a letter approving the very controversial environmental impact statement (EIS) for a Large scale open pit mine located inside the Lower Zambezi National Park.

The Zambezi basin, whose main flow is the Zambezi river, is one of Africa’s most important basins. It’s a natural asset shared between Angola, Botswana, Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique directly supporting the livelihoods of over 47 million people. It is the main supplier of fresh water for household, agriculture, health and industrial use, and supplier of electricity and fish to the populations of these countries. This basin is a network of important ecosystems that is home to Africa’s most important wildlife and water tourism destinations.

Simply put the Zambezi basin is the most significant shared resource that contributes to economic, environmental and social development of Southern Africa. Sustainable management of this resource is crucial in securing the futures of over 250 million people in the region that depend on it.

To meet the needs of the growing populations the basin attracts a range of investments. The way these investments are identified, designed, sequenced and financed will deliver opportunities for the basin or destroy the futures of the majority populations on the basin if the water is either interrupted or polluted.

Despite the Zambezi River being central to enhancing economic opportunities and securing sustainable livelihoods in Southern Africa, it is undergoing serious threats, one of which is the proposed Kangaluwi copper mining project in Lower Zambezi by Mwembeshi Resources Limited.

The proposed site for the mine lies in Lower Zambezi National Park (LZNP), an International Conservation Union (IUCN) category II protected area in South-Eastern Zambia, on the Zambezi River, which lies within close proximity of the Kafue and Luangwa Rivers. The Lower Zambezi National Park (LZNP) provides refuge to globally threatened wildlife species such as Elephants and Wild Dogs and is home to unique vegetation types that include Zambezi endemics and the only protected and intact lowland deciduous thickets in the Southern African region.

If the mine goes ahead it poses a severe threat to the communities within the region as well as downstream where the risk of contaminating water is extremely high. This would impact the communities in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and the whole Zambezi delta, potentially destroying farming and fishing livelihoods and one of the largest tourism destinations for Zambia and Zimbabwe. While Zambia must benefit from the use of the mineral resources it is endowed with, it cannot do so at the expense of its people and other communities in those countries who have no connection to the mine.

It is clear that the potential long-term impacts of this mine and the environmental threat it poses to the renewable resources of the Zambezi River ecosystem far outweigh any short-term benefits. Local communities depend on the area’s renewable resources for water, fishing, agriculture, tourism and forestry. River pollution caused by the mine could threaten the mighty Zambezi river’s 2,000-ton subsistence fishery, which provides food and protein security to 20,000 people along the river’s banks.

In LZNP, eco-tourism in the area depends largely on the renewable wildlife and habitat resources and contributes significantly to the local and national economies around the LZNP.

Tourism establishments in the park and surrounding Game Management Areas (GMAs) employ more than 1,000 local people, generating a local wage bill of $4 million annually that indirectly supports thousands more people at a local community level.

The mine also threatens upcoming conservation projects such as the $12.5 million Lower Zambezi Flagship Species Restoration project, which received approval from the Ministry of Tourism and Arts in 2018. The project aims to bring back locally extinct species such as the Black Rhino and Eland, thereby restoring biodiversity and improving ecosystem processes in the area, which this mine could threaten.

In addition, the Lower Zambezi National Park (LZNP) shares boundaries with the Mana Pools World Heritage site to the south and is also being considered for designation as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Although the mine is expected to cover about 980 km2, which is about 25% of the park, it is estimated that more than 50% of the national park will be lost (the entire northern part of the park). This means that the primary reasons for which the park was initially established will be lost forever.

The threat to the Zambezi River ecosystem was highlighted by the late Dr Kenneth Kaunda, whose recent passing we deeply mourn. Dr Kaunda said the mine planned for Lower Zambezi National Park “poses the biggest threat in history to the wildlife and pristine wilderness that has survived so many centuries of challenges”. We could not have said it better. We urge our leaders to honour his legacy, by protecting this area.

We implore the Government under His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Zambia and the Father of the Nation, Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, to ensure a Secure Zambezi and a Safe Zambezi by considering the following:

Take immediate measures to secure the entire Zambezi river’s waters as it is a shared resource between five countries. Developing an open pit mine on top of the Zambezi escarpment will accelerate the degradation of the Zambezi basin which is a source of many lives and livelihoods and source of life for a range of important wildlife and biodiversity.
Secure livelihoods of poor farmers and fishermen. Moving the proposed mine away from Lower Zambezi will secure livelihoods and focus on expanding economic opportunities offered by tourism, fishing and farming for local communities. Such sustainable investments will protect the interests of the poor fishing and farming communities.
Take measures of sustainable development that will ensure intergenerational rights to access and benefit from the Zambezi river are secured.
Work with conservation partners, fishing and tour operators to expand sustainable economic activities in the areas that deliver sustainable jobs and sustainable ecosystems.
Invest in the protected areas network as it will secure some of the globally important but threatened wildlife species such as Elephants and Wild dogs and deliver green jobs.
Focus on resolving the negative social and environmental impacts of mining in mining areas before it can consider opening up protected areas to similar degradation.

We join all our local and international stakeholders in appealing to the Government of the Republic of Zambia to reconsider and revoke the permission to mine the Lower Zambezi, which could jeopardise a renewable, sustainable asset of local, National and International importance. Save Zambezi for a Safe Zambezi.

Sign the Petition

A Specialised K9 Unit in Action!

Photo Credit: Michael Hensman, Invictus K9

After a tragic loss in 2019 of one of CLZ’s K9 warriors, the organisation managed to secure funds to support the expansion of the DNPW/CLZ K9 Unit. Through funding, CLZ was able to bring in two new dogs, more personnel and an in-depth training to enhance the successes of the Unit.

Following the completion of a thorough 4-month training course by Invictus K9, with the new dogs and heightened skill levels under their belts, the men and women of the K9 Unit began operations in and around the Lower Zambezi National Park to help intercept the illegal wildlife trade and bring down mid to higher tier syndicates.

All three dogs have been involved in operations and each dog has recorded successes. Most notably, K9 Bar performed a phenomenal 30km track resulting in an arrest, K9 Hammer indicated on and led to the arrest of a suspect transporting Python Skins and other wildlife products and K9 Kalo indicated on an axe and a person trafficking hippo meat.

Photo Credit: Michael Hensman, Invictus K9

From July to December 2020, the K9 Unit worked in collaboration with the other specialised teams – the Rapid Response Unit and the Investigations and Intelligence Units as well as conducted operations on their own through their improved and sophisticated informer networks. Following the alarming rates of elephant poaching over five years ago, CLZ set up these specialised units in order to work proactively to bring down the poaching in the Lower Zambezi. Over the years, through efforts from all the DNPW/CLZ law enforcement units, the elephant poaching has decreased by 90% from 2016 to 2020. Simultaneously, there has also been an increase in arrests and the confiscations of illegal products. While these exponential successes in the field are protecting the wildlife, there is still need to maintain efforts and ensure continued protection.

The K9 successes from July to December 2020 included the apprehension of 22 poachers and an additional 36 illegal miners during a special joint-effort helicopter operation. The unit has also been responsible for the removal of 4 illegal firearms from the system and the confiscation of 1 piece of illegal ivory, 10 rounds of ammunition and 368 kg of bushmeat. This hard-working team is motivated and will continue to push themselves in the field in order to get results, while the dogs will continue to be trained and taken care of.

Photo Credit: Michael Hensman, Invictus K9

CLZ extends gratitude to IUCN Save Our Species co-funded by European Union, International Elephant Foundation and The Berry Family Trust, Lion Recovery Fund and Adrian Scripps, for funding the K9 Expansion, giving the dogs and handlers the best possible chance to succeed in the field.

This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union through IUCN Save Our Species. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Conservation Lower Zambezi and do not necessarily reflect the views of IUCN or the European Union.

Training an Effective Specialised K9 Unit

In March 2020, the expansion of the DNPW/CLZ K9 Unit with two new working dogs – Kalo and Hammer began. Over the last four months Invictus K9 has been training both new dogs as well as a new handler and kennel keeper. The original handlers and remaining dog have also been simultaneously undergoing refresher training in order to upgrade and reinforce their current skills whilst also introducing new techniques to be utilised during operations.

Credit: Hugo Bigara

Detection is one of the core skills developed in the dogs early on with both Kalo and Hammer having successfully imprinted on the scent of firearms, ammunition, ivory, pangolin scale, rhino horn, bushmeat and skins. This is done through exposure to the items in question then using positive reinforcement when the dog successfully indicates on the scent. Throughout training the dogs were also exposed to different environments in order to help strengthen their detection skills and also train them to ignore physical distractions such as loud noises and new people. Once the dogs had learned to detect and indicate on a scent without a visual stimulus baggage searches were also conducted to imitate those held during vehicle check points. Vehicle check points are important in tackling the illegal wildlife trade as they aid in intercepting and disrupting trafficking channels. Both Kalo and Hammer are now able to conduct open area searches, building searches, vehicle check points and baggage searches with ease and great enthusiasm.

Credit: Michael Hensman

In the Lower Zambezi, the dogs experience particularly high temperature levels making them susceptible to heat stress which has detrimental effects to their health and ability to perform. In order to mitigate this issue, part of the training program has involved teaching handler’s the dangers of heat stress for the dogs and how to effectively manage their dog’s temperature. This has been achieved through a number of walks and small-scale operations in high temperature environments. These activities have also worked to help the dogs acclimatise to the weather conditions of the Lower Zambezi and increase their overall fitness levels. At the end of June, the unit made the 14km walk up Mt. Chilapira showcasing the endurance of both the dogs and handlers and their ability to cope with heat and exertion.

Credit: Michael Hensman

It is also imperative to familiarise the new dogs with the different modes of transport they will encounter when on operations such as vehicles, boats and aircrafts. These modes of transport were incorporated into training exercises in order to gradually expose the dogs and give the trainer’s time to monitor their reactions closely. Both Kalo and Hammer quickly overcame any initial apprehension to new modes of transport and also didn’t display any signs of motion sickness which will be incredibly beneficial in the field.

Credit: Michael Hensman

An unusual aspect of training came in the form of two chickens. When conducting vehicle searches and village sweeps the dogs regularly encounter livestock, which often distracts them from the task at hand. Two chickens were procured and kept in the kennel area in order for the dogs to become accustomed to their scent, sounds and movements. During training the three canines initially showed a slight interest in the chickens particularly when they made sudden movements or loud noises, however they quickly learned to focus solely on detection and are now able to conduct tasks without allowing the chickens to distract them. When out on operations this element of training will be incredibly useful in helping streamline vehicle searches and village sweeps as the dogs should ignore all forms of domesticated livestock.

Credit: Michael Hensman

With the advanced training course now complete we look forward to seeing how the unit will operate in the field and what further impact they will have on CLZ’s efforts to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade.

CLZ extends gratitude to IUCN Save Our Species co-funded by European Union, International Elephant Foundation and The Berry Family Trust, Lion Recovery Fund and Adrian Scripps, for funding the K9 Expansion Training Course.

This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union through IUCN Save Our Species. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Conservation Lower Zambezi and do not necessarily reflect the views of IUCN or the European Union.


COVID-19 Fundraising

While COVID-19 has startled the globe and forced thoughts of systemic change within all sectors worldwide, Conservation Lower Zambezi has also had to implement a new norm and find a way to adapt and continue to operate during the ongoing pandemic. 
At the CLZ Basecamp, we’ve implemented a number of protocols in order to keep our staff safe, through handwashing stations at all communal areas, enforcing social distancing, consistent use of disinfectants and antibacterials and face masks for all including face shields for those in high risk areas. 
Through COVID-19 causing a significant reduction in membership fees from the tourism operators coupled with the inability to conduct income generating activities, CLZ is experiencing a significant financial shortfall on unrestricted funds which are critical to CLZ’s operations. 
In an effort to help fill this financial gap and support the low-income communities, we have launched a crowdfunding campaign. With help from Africa Hope Fund, who have enabled us to channel the funds through PayPal, people around the world are able to donate safely and efficiently. At this stage we’ve raised over $25,000 allowing us to continue critical law enforcement operations to protect the wildlife as well as a number of our COVID-19 related community interventions. We’re continuing to push towards our goal of $50,000 in order to secure us for the remainder of 2020. 
Please continue to donate and share our link:

In response to our call for support, the Lower Zambezi community, friends and families of CLZ from all around the world have come up with ingenious ideas and ways to continue to support us during this time. We’d like to highlight their efforts and extend a gracious thank you for their work so far: 


Oak Foundation 

Through introductions from partner WCP, Oak Foundation has granted CLZ a much-needed unrestricted grant to cover any financial shortfalls over the coming year as a result of COVID-19. Through this, we are able to support DNPW and the community as well as CLZ administration costs. 

BioCarbon Partners

BioCarbon Partners have supported CLZ through a grant to help fund efforts to combat COVID-19 within local communities. They’ve also continued to support our community scouts and their work out in the field.

Chiawa Camp 

Chiawa Camp is one of the longest running lodges in the Lower Zambezi valley with an extensive history of supporting CLZ in our conservation work. Through their efforts and outreach, they have secured an incredible amount of donations for CLZ as well as from the Swiss African Foundation who are supporting DNPW and Community Scout wildlife protection patrols. 

Kanyemba Lodge 

Riccardo Garbaccio of Kanyemba Lodge, an ongoing and long-time supporter of CLZ has graciously donated a large batch of beautiful chitenge materials for face masks to be delivered to the communities. He has also done a significant amount of running around for CLZ to procure our contactless thermometers and other COVID-19 related items. In addition, he has also provided CLZ with footage and images for our crowdfunding video as well as our social media pages helping our message reach a larger audience and get more awareness and donations.

Alison Street

Alison Street, an extremely talented visual artist and long-time supporter of CLZ has brought the fun to fundraising! In May she launched a campaign: 110 paintings for 110 days. Every day a beautiful piece is posted on her Facebook page for $110 with all proceeds going towards CLZ. So far it is doing amazing and we look forward to the daily pictures!

Emily Lamb

Renowned artist Emily Lamb has launched a campaign wherein each week she auctions off one of her incredible pieces in order to raise money for a conservation charity. CLZ is one of the charities selected so keep an eye out for the auction in the coming weeks.

Tatenda – Wildlife Photobook

Matt Armstrong and Andrew White along with a number of other notable wildlife photographers have pieced together Tatenda, a beautiful photobook that highlights some of the most incredible creatures from all over the African continent. Selling for only $5, all funds raised will be donated to a number of conservation charities including CLZ.

Christie Lindsay

Christie Lindsay is a regular contributor to our annual art exhibit and this year she is using her creative skills to help raise money for CLZ through selling a number of her lovely pieces featuring local wildlife. 

Lance Thomas

Lance Thomas, a former overland guide from Encounter Overland has gone above and beyond to help raise funds for CLZ. Through his strong network of guides and former clients in the overlanding industry he’s been able to raise a significant amount in donations for CLZ.  

Matthew Lewin

Matty Lewin ran a half marathon earlier this month in order to raise money and awareness for CLZ. With over 21km covered with little training beforehand, this is an incredible feat and we’re thankful for Matty’s support.

Explorers Against Extinction

Explorers Against Extinction are running two competitions to raise funds for conservation organisations. Their art competition Sketch for Survival offers artists the chance to have their works shown in a London gallery. They have also launched Focus for Survival a photography competition showcasing some of the best wildlife photographers from around the globe.

Just Core-S Pilates

Shaina Irwin of Just Core-S Pilateshosted an online Pilates class to #StretchForConservation on the 21st of May. The class was held via Zoom with all proceeds donated to CLZ. 

The Zambian Connection

Annually, The Zambian Connection Team have braved the Lower Zambezi River on canoes to raise funds for CLZ. This year, while the expedition may have been put on hold, their fundraising has continued, contributing a significant amount to support CLZ during this difficult time.


A very big thank you to the incredible artists, friends and family members that are raising funds for CLZ in the most creative ways. Your support cannot be emphasised enough and we are grateful to have you backing us. We’d also like to thank our members who have been able to continue supporting us despite the difficult time they are facing.
We would also like to extend a heart-felt thank you to all our current donors for being flexible with their ongoing grants and allowing us to be able to reallocate funds where possible to support current needs due to COVID-19. It is this compassion and understanding that has allowed us to continue our operations here in the Lower Zambezi and protect the incredible wildlife and its people.