26th October 2019
OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM CONSERVATION LOWER ZAMBEZI ON THE PROPOSED KANGALUWI OPEN-CAST COPPER MINE IN THE LOWER ZAMBEZI NATIONAL PARK
Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ) is a non-profit organisation that works with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) under the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, to protect the wildlife, habitats and ecosystem of the Lower Zambezi. These assets are of local, national and international importance and need to be protected for future generations.
CLZ understands that mining has a place in Zambia’s economy, however, based on the documents which have been made publicly available, CLZ is deeply concerned about this mine’s potential impact on the nation’s conservation status and the environmental threat it poses to the renewable resources ofthe ecosystem.
The LZNP is an area of international conservation significance, supporting one of the most important populations of African elephant in the region, in addition to many other species. There is substantial connectivity between the LZNP and South Luangwa National Park, it lies opposite a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas in Zimbabwe) and is in the process of being registered as a Transfrontier Conservation Area.
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. With three other parks, tourism in LZNP generates 96% of the income the DNPW raises for wildlife management in the country. 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 reputational damage that Zambia and the region would suffer by allowing mining in a national park will definitely impact on tourism in this flagship area.
Local communities depend on the area’s renewable resources in fishing, agriculture, tourism and forestry. All of these resources could be significantly impacted by a mine, particularly aquatic resources. River pollution caused by the mine could threaten the Zambezi river’s 2,000 ton subsistence fishery, which provides food and protein security to 20,000 people along the river’s banks.
The mine also threatens upcoming conservation projects such as the $12.5 million dollar 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.
We join all our local and international stakeholders in issuing a call on the Government of The Republic of Zambia to reconsider and revoke the permission to mine the Lower Zambezi, thereby jeopardising a renewable, sustainable asset of local, national and international importance.