Zambia cancels mining project in national park
INTERNATIONAL – The Zambian government on Wednesday announced that no mining activities will take place in a national park after the plans to grant an Australian mining firm a license received a backlash from stakeholders.
The decision to grant Australian mining firm, Mwembeshi Resources Limited, a mining license in the Lower Zambezi National Park, caused a stir with stakeholders asking the government to rescind the move as it will not only affect wildlife but the ecosystem as well.
Minister of Tourism and Arts Ronald Chitotela said there will be no mining activities in the national park because a report that was submitted by the environmental regulator and run from 2014 to 2017 expired.
He said during a press briefing that there has been no fresh report by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency to allow mining in the national park hence the government's decision not to allow the planned move.
He said if the mining firm wanted to go ahead with its project, a fresh report needs to be done which will have to be scrutinized and approved by the government.
The government, he said, was committed to the fight against climate change and would not allow activities that may harm the environment.
In October, Zambia enhanced transparency of mining ownership after government stated that it was working to identify real owners of mining firms operating in the country, according to the state-run news agency Zambia News and Information Service.
Chipilauka Mukofu, acting permanent secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development, said hidden ownership of mining operations was the breeding ground for illicit financial flows which must quickly be addressed.
Hidden ownership has been a challenge as it undermines effective mobilization of domestic revenues from natural resources due to corruption and illicit financial flows, he said.