Another step towards the rejection of a mining licence issued, without due process, for an open cast mining development in the Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia, has been taken as a Zambian Parliamentary Committee strongly recommends rejection of the project. The final decision now rests with the Minister of Environment, Wylbur Simuusa, who has said a government decision will be made within the next month.
The Parliamentary Committee on Lands, Environment and Tourism has declared:
‘Your Committee recommends that the proposed mining project at Kangaluwi in the Lower Zambezi be rejected for the following reasons:
(i) the mining licence that Mwembeshi Resources holds was issued without following the requirements of the law and procedure and is invalid and should be revoked;
(ii) there should be no mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park which should be reserved and preserved as a conservation area and heritage for purposes of tourism development;
(iii) the Government should ensure that the issuance of mining licences follows the legal and laid down procedures; further, the work of the inter-Ministerial Committee should be strengthened.’
The final decision on this issue now rests with the Zambia's Minister of Environment, Wylbur Simuusa, who had allowed the Bermuda-registered and Australian securities-listed mining company to appeal the rejection of their EIS by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency. National media reported the Minister as saying: "I don't want to make a decision alone because that will set a precedence especially that this is not the only project we have which is located in a protected area. Most of the oil and gas deposits are found in game and forest reserves. As a country, where do we place more value between mining and conservation?" This should be answered by everyone, should we allow mining or not or can we have measures to ensure that mining runs side by side with conservation? It is not an easy decision and whatever we say will become a legacy so we have prepared a Cabinet memo and this month a collective decision will be made in the interest of the country since we have to weigh the advantages of having an economic project against environmental protection, human and wildlife."
A conflict of interests, Zambezi Traveller, 26 June, 2013
Environmentalist cautions government on Kangaluwi copper project, The Zambian Post, 8 June, 2013
Minister dismisses petition against UNWTO assembly, 25 May, 2013.
Mining in Park thrown out, 9 December, 2013
Environmentalists petition UNWTO members to boycott assembly, Victoria Falls Bits n Blogs, 18 May, 2013