On the 7th of 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 (LZNP).
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.
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 jeopardize a renewable, sustainable asset of local, National and International importance. Save Zambezi for a Safe Zambezi.
CLICK HERE TO SIGN A PETITION on this matter.
More details about this development and it’s implications can be found HERE.