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CONTROVERSY OVER MINE PROJECT IN LOWER ZAMBEZI RAGES

By OLIVER SAMBOKO

DEVELOPMENT of the controversial Kangaluwi Mine in Lower Zambezi National Park will commence once the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) concludes an Environmental Assessment Report, the Daily Nation has learnt.

Many NGOs and other stakeholders have been calling on Government to cancel the mining licence issued to Australian-owned Zambezi Resources Limited for their Lower Zambezi National Parks, fearing operations could cause ecosystem degradation.

But Luangwa Establishment (LE) chairperson, Jeseph Felemenga, said in an interview that the traditional leadership and other stakeholders were fully in touch with the developer who has indicated that once ZEMA gives a go ahead the actual works will commence.

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He said following the ruling by the court of appeal in favour of Mwembeshi Resources Limited to establish an open pit copper mine, the developer is now just waiting for a fresh report from ZEMA, after the first one expired.

“Following the ruling by the Court of Appeal that ruled in favour of Mwembeshi Resources Limited in February this year, the position as people from Luangwa is that we are in support of the mine to go ahead as planned,” he said.

Mr Felemenga accused those against the mine of being selfish as their claim that the mining operation would disturb the animal corridor was ill-informed.

He explained that the game reserve was over 50 km from the proposed mine site.

He said copper mine would bring benefits not only to the local people of Luangwa but to the country as a whole through the creation of employment and taxes to the treasury.

Mr Felemenga said the people including the traditional leadership were aware that some tour operators had sponsored some NGOs to wage a campaign against the project.

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