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Luangwa residents up in arms against mine critics


Residents of Luangwa have protested against organisations and individuals who are against Government’s decision to allow mining in Lower Zambezi National Park by Mwembeshi Resources Mine.

The residents are not happy that the critics who do not live in the district are busy petitioning President Hakainde Hichilema and his new dawn administration to stop Mwembeshi Resources from developing Luangwa.

They have cited a number of developmental benefits that the district and country will reap once legal mining operations in Luangwa start.

The residents have also challenged those against the mine to visit the district for them to appreciate the poverty situation in the area and also to reach the proposed mine site, which they say is far away from where people and animals live.

Following the new dawn administration’s decision to allow mining in Lower Zambezi, some civil society organisations and environmentalists have raised concerns that the proposed mine project in the national park is a health hazard.

But most proponents of the mine have cited First Quantum Mine in North-Western Province as an example that mining and wildlife can co-exist.

According to Feira member of Parliament Emmanuel Tembo, the proposed mine site is about 40 kilometres from the Zambezi River and there is no way the water resource will be polluted.

Mr. Tembo says according to the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) adjustments and conditions, the mine will only cover one percent of the national park and allegations that the whole area will be converted into a mining site are a misrepresentation of facts.

And wildlife conservationist James Chungu says mining in Lower Zambezi should be used as a pilot project to determine how best mining and wildlife can coexist.

Mr. Chungu said the component that mining operators will put money in conservation of wildlife is encouraging because with heightened poaching in the area wildlife species are greatly endangered.

“Modern day mining cannot contaminate wildlife. We have seen that there is wildlife in Mwinilunga where First Quantum is conducting mining. It is high time we made mining possible in Lower Zambezi for the locals to get jobs and other benefits,” Mr. Chungu said.

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