The Post, Thursday November 1, 2012
ZAMBEZI RESOURCES SEEKS REVIEW OF ZEMA DECISION
the developers of the kangaluwi copper project should accept the decision by ZEMA to reject mining activities in the Lower Zambezi national park because of the negative impacts to the communities, wildlife and the environment says environmental activists’ group.
The Zambia environmental management Agency (ZEMA) has rejected environmental impact study (EIS) submissions for the proposed US $494 million copper project citing environmental concerns.
But Zambezi Resources, which owns the Kagaluwi project, through its chief executive officer Frank Vanspeybroeck claimed that senior ministers in the Zambian government were surprised at the decision by ZEMA to reject the construction of a mine.
Zambezi resources has since lodged an appeal to the minister of environmental protection seeking a review of ZEMA’s decision as provided for in the Environmental Management Act of 2011.
Commenting on the matter, Community-Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) Chairman Biston Mbewe said ZEMA rejected the project because the EIS submitted by the developer failed to address serious environmental concerns such as the issue of acid rock drainage and the negative impacts of abnormal discharge of effluent in case of failure by the tailing storage facility.
“We agree with ZEMA that while the project provides short-term economic benefits to the communities in the Lower Zambezi, if allowed, the project would have long term and permanent negative impacts to the communities, wildlife and the environment,” Mbewe said.
He said there was need to protect the environment from harmful economic activities such as mining in protected areas and ecologically-sensitive areas.
“We would like to appeal to all stakeholders including the developer to accept and respect the professional decision by ZEMA on this matter,” said Mbewe. “We also wish to clarify assertions by the developer in its quest to appeal ZEMA’s decision that various stakeholders including conservation groups were in support of the project. This is untrue as people raised concerns about the potential negative impacts of the project to the environment.”
And the Earth Organisation Zambia chapter executive director Lovemore Muma said ZEMA should be commended for making a professional decision without influence form government.
“this is unlike in the past where mining and other projects will start operating without ZEMA approval, so we urge ZEMA to follow up the projects that are approved already to make sure they comply with their environment management plans as contained in the EIA and ZEMA should close down projects that do not comply with their own environmental management plans,” said Muma.