By OLIVER SAMBOKO
GIVING up a National Park for a copper mine that will only last less than 10 years is not the best option of raising funds for national development, Chief Chundu of Zimbabwe has advised.
Commenting on the decision by Government to allow the commencement of large scale open pit mining at Kangaluwi in the Lower Zambezi National Park, Chief Chundu said Zambia should weigh its options carefully and ensure that the best decision was arrived at that would not impact negatively on the tourism sector.
He said the 10-year lifespan of Kangaluwi Open Pit Copper mine was too little to risk environmental damage and degradation that would be caused by the mining activities in the national park.
The traditional leader said the environmental damage would not only affect the Zambian side but also other countries like Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
“While we are aware that the project will create jobs for the local people, the 10-year lifespan projection is not good enough to allow the damage to the ecosystem which will in turn impact negatively the tourism along the wild corridor,” Chief Chundu said.
Chief Chundu said the proposed mining operation in the middle of the national park posed the biggest threat to the wildlife and tourism sector, one of the major employment generatosr.
He said there was a likelihood that allowing the mine to go ahead with mining activities would affect the Mana Pools, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which covers the Mana-Sapi-Chewore complex in Zimbabwe.