On 31 August 2012, the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) refused the application of the Australian Company, Zambezi Resources Limited, to commence open-pit mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park, but the Australian miners appealed to the Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection (MLNE), and on 17 January 2014, the Minister Harry Kalaba allowed it. This matter is now sub judice, and the Government are sitting on the issue until the matter is decided in the courts.
However, on 31 May 2012, the very same Ministry had presented Zambia’s Action Plan for implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD) Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA), undertaking to ‘Enact legislation on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from the Utilization of Genetic Resources’, so confirming the Nagoya Protocol of the CBD and the rights of customary people not to have mining if they so wish, and to have their sacred groves in the Park protected. Then under the subject of National Parks, the Ministry repeated that they would ‘exclude exploitation or occupation inimical to the purposes of designation of the area’.
The Ministry then listed their Key Threats, one of them being, ‘Mining and Road Construction Activities: ‘These have resulted in the fragmentation of ecosystems and habitats and obstruct migratory routes to breeding and feeding grounds used by wildlife and fish’.
Zambia has therefore ignored its own action plan presented to the Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as the agreement of 17 Zambezi Chiefs in 2008 to prohibit all mining in the Zambezi Basin. It is therefore not a matter for the Minister to resort to the sub judice argument, but simply, for the sake of the people and environment of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, TO BAN THE MINING
We therefore call on the CBD, should mining not be banned in the Lower Zambezi National Park, for Zambia to be expelled from the Convention.
In mid-October 2011, UNESCO issued Decision:35 COM 7B.8: The World Heritage Committee:
Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B. And, Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.7, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010), Welcomes the decision of the State Party of Zambia not to approve the proposed mining operations in Chiawa Game Management Area and Lower Zambezi National Park nor the original proposal for a tourist and conference facility in the Chiawa Game Management Area across the river from the property, which could have impacted the property’s Outstanding Universal Value; Notes that mining exploration is on-going in other parts of the Lower Zambezi Catchment, and considers that mining exploration and exploitation in the catchment could adversely affect the property if not strictly regulated; Encourages the State Party of Zambia to consider nominating the adjacent Lower Zambezi National Park in order to eventually constitute a joint trans-boundary inscription on the World Heritage List, in line with the World Heritage Committee’s recommendation at the time of inscription; Requests the State Party of Zambia to: Ensure that any redesigned tourist and conference facility in the Chiawa Game Management Area across the river from the property be subject to a new Environmental Impact Assessment which should include an assessment of the impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, in accordance with Article 6 of the Convention; Submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, a report on progress in implementing the mission recommendations concerning mineral exploration and mining and tourism development and on the status of the mining activities and tourism developments which could affect the property.
In addition to the Park being under consideration as a World Heritage Site, it is a category II protected area - as are all National Parks, managed mainly for ecosystem protection and recreation, defined by the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas as a ’Natural area of land and/or sea, designated to (a) protect the ecological integrity of one or more ecosystems for present and future generations, (b) exclude exploitation or occupation inimical to the purposes of designation of the area and (c) provide a foundation for spiritual,scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities, all of which must be environmentally and culturally compatible.’ Any mining or large scale hotel development is therefore exploitation and occupation inimical to the purposes of designation of the area. This is recognised in the proposed amendment to the Wildlife Act of 1998, which would prohibit mining in the LZ National Park and in the adjoining Chiawa Community Partnership Park where Zambezi Resources are in partnership with Glencore Xstrata in the Cheowa mine.
On 18 October 2008, Chieftainess Chiawa (Chiawa/Kafue) Chiefs Chipepo, Simamba, Sinadambwe – all of Siavonga district, and Chiefs Mupuka and Mburuma of Luangwa had met and issued an historic statement against mining for 17 chiefdoms of the whole Zambezi system. The Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) is already on record as saying no mining would be allowed in National Parks ( on 5 November 2008 the DG of ZAWA, Lewis Saiwana, wrote to Andy Fleming of Zambezi Resources stating that “National Parks and Game Management Areas should not be subjected to mining activities…”) .
Apart from the rejection of the EIA by ZEMA, in July 2013 the Parliamentary Committee on Lands, Environment and Tourism for the Second Session of the Eleventh National Assembly of Zambia (September 2012 - July 2013) declared that:
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.
'Prohibit mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park'.
The Lower Zambezi National Park was due to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as a result of the Zambian government's agreement in October 2011 not to allow mining there. However, President Sata overturned ZEMA's decision, allowing Zambezi Resources Limited to mine the Park - a process merely delayed in the courts. At the same time he personally directed from State House the Road Development Agency and the building of a highway through the Park in place of the track along the Zambezi River, and without the mandatory EIA and public hearings.
In your three-month window of power you are able to save the Zambezi from copper and uranium mining, and from the many hydro schemes which signal the end of the dynamic river system as we know it. Given the considerable extent of your Executive powers we urge you to stop the mining.