This part of Africa is so beautiful, it makes me want to come and build an open-cast copper mine here! Not. But that’s the kind of thinking that must be going on in the heads of people like the directors of Zambezi Resources Limited (an Australian mining company). They are planning to open an open-cast copper mine in the middle of the Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia!
Here are a couple of things that are very interesting about this case:
The Lower Zambezi National Park lies on the northern banks of the mighty Zambezi river, directly opposite the Mana Pools National Park (which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
There was a formal, proper EIA done (Environmental Impact Assessment). This EIA strongly recommended that mining does NOT continue in this area.
The minister responsible for these decisions in Zambia has recently simply overturned the EIA and the decision not to continue with the project, for no apparent reason (he cites job creation but probably received a fat incentive cheque too).
Tourism is the fastest growing economic sector in Zambia, and the one with the most potential for sustainable economic contribution to the country’s GDP.
Did I mention thatthe Lower Zambezi National Park lies on the northern banks of the mighty Zambezi river, directly opposite the Mana Pools National Park (which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site)?
The Lower Zambezi National Park is listed to also be given UNESCO World Heritage Site status soon. This will obviously fall flat if the mining continues.
The mining company claims this will be the “cleanest, greenest copper mine ever”. Have you ever seen open-cast/open-pit mining? Puhleeeze. What a load of hogwash!
Any pollution to the ground or surrounding water sources will flow DIRECTLY into the Zambezi, which sustains a myriad of wildlife and human settlements for hundreds of kilometers before it reaches the Indian Ocean in Mozambique.
What can we do? Mostly make a noise, spread the word and support our Zambian conservation colleagues in any way possible – believe me they are fighting this thing tooth and nail on the ground.
Firstly – check out the “No mining in Lower Zambezi National Park” Facebook page. Join up by liking the page and make sure you stay updated and share important announcements from them to your Facebook network.
You can also check out their blog. Secondly – check out and sign the petition they created on Avaaz. Have a look at this photo I took in Mana Pools:
This lovely chap is standing in the Zambezi river (in the dry months). Do you see that escarpment behind the elephant? That’s Zambia…moreover, that’s the Lower Zambezi National Park and even more precisely – it’s right in that basin up there that they want to open a freaking open-cast copper mine. Huh? You want to what? Go on, click on that link – tell me if you think it will be “beneficial to the wildlife” as the mining company’s PR release put it…
Greed is going to be the end of Africa, especially with corrupt politicians selling out our natural heritage to make a quick buck. It’s sickening. Okay, rant over.
Please have a look at the links I shared and do your part to at least spread awareness of this issue.
Have a great day, friends!