By GIDEON NYENDWA
Having an open pit mine in the Lower Zambezi National Park will attract international litigation from neighboring countries that benefit from the Zambezi River because of possible contamination, Zambia United for Sustainable Development (ZUSD) president, Lazarus Chisela, has said.
Mr Chisela, who is also an international environmental law expert, said that neighboring countries that use the water from the Zambezi River for various purposes would sue Zambia for water pollution because the water would most likely be polluted with sulphuric acid.
He said that mining involved the use of sulphuric acid and that was the reason why the water from mines was not drunk, which was likely to pollute the river even the underground water.
Mr Chisela said that it was so embarrassing that after attending the world leaders’ summit on climate change in Glasgow, Scotland, the country was allowing a mine to start Mining in a national park.
He said that there was still a chance for the government to rescind the decision because if the building of the mine goes ahead it would bring serious problems to the country.
Mr Chisela said that developed nations would hate Zambia for the decision they took to allow investors to build a mine there.
“We’ll be painted black as a country for taking such a step,” he said.
Mr Chisela said that President Hakainde Hichilema was in the forefront opposing having an open pit mine in a national park when he was in the opposition and it would have been easier for him to stop it now that he was in the driving seat. “What has changed now?” Mr Chisela.
He said that this country has open pit mines on the Copperbelt and what happens around those mines was well known, the environment was always contaminated.
Mr Chisela said that Zambia should learn from what happened in Papua New Guinea where citizens sued an Australian company that was mining near a river because the environment was destroyed.
He said that it was very disturbing that Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) had allowed it to go ahead.