Zambian court stops mining in national park


This video is about Tongabezi, Zambia – African wildlife.

From Wildlife Extra:

Zambian High Court overturns government mining plan in Lower Zambezi

February 2014: A plan to mine copper from the Lower Zambezi National Park has been halted by the High Court in Lusaka, Zambia, despite gaining government approval. In January the government granted approval for Mwembeshi Resources Ltd to mine up to 80 million tonnes of copper ore from the park per year despite protests by Zambian environmental organisations.

The park is an Important Bird Area and is being considered for listing as a World Heritage Site and these groups are concerned that such a massive project could have serious impacts on biodiversity, water and people downstream.

“As a unique and world renowned ecosystem with immense financial and ecological value to Zambia, the area deserves the highest form of protection,” said Mr. Moses Nyoni, the CEO of Bird Watch Zambia. “We laud the High Court for stopping the project and we call upon the investor to withdraw this project once and for all as it has irreversible impacts on biodiversity and people.”

A ‘stay of execution’ has been issued by the high court until an appeal filed by civil society groups has been heard and determined, however, the groups remain concerned.

“We are concerned about the legality and transparency of the whole process since stakeholder input was ignored” said Moses Nyoni. “We will provide positive feedback to the authorities but at the same time do everything possible to ensure that Zambian environmental laws are respected.”

Discussions have also been underway to designate Lower Zambezi as a transboundary World Heritage Site straddling Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“This proposal could go down the drain and this would be sad for both countries” said Ken Mwathe, the BirdLife International Africa Policy and Advocacy Coordinator. “Zambia has internationally recognised conservation credentials; the government should maintain these by keeping mining interests out of Lower Zambezi National Park.”

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