Lower Zambezi National Park (Copper Minning)

 

Photo: Gane & Marshall

Campaign period: 2012-2014

Background

The Lower Zambezi National Park lies on the north bank of the Zambezi River in south eastern Zambia. On the opposite bank is Zimbabwe's Mana Pools national Park, thus creates a natural trans-frontier wildlife sanctuary. The park sits on the Zambezi flood plain ringed by mountains, the area is a world heritage site. The park host a diversity of mammals and large numbers of species of birds.

Why it is important

The park has a unique and world renowned ecosystem with great financial value through tourism and ecological value to Zambia. The Park is rich in wading birds, both resident and migrants. It host over 350 species of birds, and other biodiversity including mammals such as Elephants, Buffalos, Lions, Leopards, and Antelopes .The Park is also a major supply of water for the people downstream.

Threats

In March 2010 the government of Zambia issued a large scale copper mining license for Lower Zambezi National Park to Mwembeshi Resources Ltd (MRL), a subsidiary of an Austrian listed company, Zambezi Resources Ltd (ZRL). The proposed mine was most likely to be located in the middle of the National Park thereby bisecting the IBA.

Concerns

The approval came in spite of protest by Zambian environmental organizations that are concerned that such a massive project could have serious impacts on biodiversity, water and people downstream.

Campaign strategies

  • Various stakeholders made petitions
  • Civil society organizations made appeals
  • Press releases
  • Litigation at the High Court

Campaign outcomes

  • Zambia Environmental Management Authority (ZEMA) rejected the project Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in February 2012 following an appeal lodged by civil society led by the Bird Watch Zambia (BWZ - BirdLife in Zambia).  In spite of this, the investor went ahead and appealed with the Minister who granted a license in January 2014. However, the Zambian Community Based Natural Resource Management Forum appealed the decision at the high court and an injunction slapped by the High Court of Zambia in February 2014.

More news.