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

Sunset on the Zambezi River

Mar , 2022

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 change.org, and you will find the petition under the name SaveZambeziSafeZambezi.”

 

Read the statement 
Sign the petition
Join the movement

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