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Zambia: Mining Proposal Threatens Lower Zambezi Ecosystem

Potential mining activity in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park is threatening its ecosystem and that of the adjacent Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe. The two national parks, rich in wildlife and one of the last bastions of huge elephant populations in Southern Africa, are situated less than 200 kilometres downstream from the hydroelectric Kariba Dam.

Wildlife and environmental activists are alarmed with the call for investment in mining at Kangaluwi, an area being considered as part of a greater World Heritage Area to include the two national parks on both sides of the Zambezi River.

Map of proposed location of open pit mine in the Lower Zambezi National Park

Map of proposed location of open pit mine in the Lower Zambezi National Park. Image via the online petition to stop mining in the area.

Quoting I.P.A Manning, who heads the official Change.org petition against the Zambezi Resources project, the Economy News wrote:

The Lower Zambezi National Park is due to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as a result of the Zambian Government's agreement not to allow mining there.

A Facebook group, Save Mana Pools, has been formed to campaign against mining in the area. Writing on its wall, Audrey Masara said:

That's sad! I hear the company that has been granted a mining licence is only awaiting the EIA results which, as soon as they are available, should see them starting operations. And the company's CEO believes God placed the resources there for them to be harvested and that the fact that the mining has to be done in particularly that area should be blamed on geology. What say you?

Reads the Change.org petition:

The Lower Zambezi National Park was due to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as a result of the Zambian government's agreement not to allow mining there. However, Zambia has since allowed an environmental impact statement to be tendered by the Austrailian company, Zambezi Resources for a massive open-pit mining operation in the park, suggesting a change of mind on the part of the Patriotic Front government. Should mining go ahead, one of the last great areas of primary nature in Zambia – including as it does the Mana Pools National Park ( a World Heritage Site) in Zimbabwe and the Mid-Zambezi Biosphere Reserve, would be severely damaged.

Diane Abspoel who has visited the Lower Zambezi National Park writes on Facebook:

Has anyone realised that that due to the central position of [the] proposed mine the whole park will be lost to tourism (read safaris) as the consequences and inf[r]a structure of the miningarea will [be] impossible to miss. And so the experience of a remote and true wilderness will be lost. I visited the area years ago and althought i have seen many beatiful places in Africa this remains on the top of my list.

Increased mining, if it goes ahead, will bring an influx of people in this sparsely populated area where tourism is the main economic activity, and with it will come the encroachment on the wildlife habitat and poaching that comes with increased human activity.

  • Domiah Suvili Lihonde

    Where is the Love of Gods great wonders, man chooses to destroy a gift that is heaven sent. Where is the intelligence of man to develop Zambia through its agriculture and industry. We import more than we export and this makes life more expensive. It would be unwise to say we have no other source of income as a nation. As a zambian, I fully protest against my governments actions. If the excuse is more jobs created, I deny, its more lives of innocent, endangered and beautiful animals that are at stake. Imagine if you were the animal in this case, spare me the excuse of u being made human, but rather, let us think as wise as the wisdom given to us from above. Remember that you are not your own, Zambian government should stop this at once

  • Hakuna Matat

    Developed nations why do you continue to rape third world countries instead of assisting them or letting them deal with their own issues? Everything always has a price and comes with a hefty price. You know your GDP does well and your populations are not as bad as the ones in third world countries. You know you are offering Zambia the short end of the stick. You are the ones to benefit from this and after a few years when you get what you want, you will leave Zambia more poor than it is. Leave the beautiful ecosystem alone as it is soon to be declared by UNESCO as a heritage site. What about the local people who depend on agriculture in that area, what are they going to do? The animals do we just displace them? You know elephants will always return to a place they know which will cause conflict. Animals will start moving into human territory which can lead lions to start killing cattle for survival and even local people. We love our very own water source the Zambezi river and wish for it to not be polluted with toxic waste from dumping which is illegal. What do you plan to do in terms of compensation should this happen which will cause death and illness to both humans and animals. Maybe ZAWA (Zambia Wildlife Authority), Harry Kalaba Lands Minister of Environment and Protection and Minister of Tourism of Arts Sylvia Masebo and the Zambia Tourism Board don’t see anything wrong or what’s coming ahead. But we see the consequences and will fight tooth and nail to conserve and preserve instead of another developed nation coming to destroy what is rightfully ours. Please leave Zambia alone and let us rebuild our tourism economy. Because in a few years to come it will be flourishing and we will create jobs in this sector and encourage investors from around the would to join us. This is a huge mistake and the world is watching. Australia will be the downfall of not only Zambia but the other nations who share the Zambezi river should there be any kind of water contamination.

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