Mining in a National Park: The Case of Lower Zambezi
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The Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) in the past few weeks rejected a proposal by Australia’s Zambezi Resources to develop a US $494-million opencast copper mine in lower Zambezi national park because of environmental concerns. This came into effect after this autonomous body (ZEMA) carried out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EPA) which revealed several issues which included the copper leach process whose affluence could have affected with the ecosystem. Zambia is endowed with 60 percent of the water resources in the entire southern africa. It is also blessed with abundant biodiversity and 14 ecosystems.
Before ZEMA revealed the EPA, the ministry in charge of Natural resources and environmental protection in Zambia had issued a go ahead to have a mine set up in the middle of Lower Zambezi National park- a gigantic park endowed with vast flora and fauna. The case is currently in the Supreme Court awaiting trial.
To which natural habitat will the animals be taken? When are we going to shift from entirely depending on mining to sustain our economy? Why can't we conserve our wildlife and revamp our tourism sector and begin foreign exchange? Copper, being a non renewable resource will at some point be mined in the future. What will drive our economy? These are the questions the majority Zambian citizens are anxiously waiting to be answered. The fact is, lower Zambezi National Park, is a Protected Area for the conservation of biodiversity protecting the regional ecosystems. All major stakeholders have said NO to this.