Zambia rejects copper project on environmental groundsPublished by MAC on 2012-09-18
Source: Reuters, Economy News (2012-09-13)
Zambia rejects copper project on environmental grounds
12 September 2012
LUSAKA - Zambia has rejected a proposal by Australia's Zambezi Resources Ltd to develop a $494 million open cast copper mine in a game reserve, citing environmental concerns, a government agency said on Wednesday.
Zambezi Resources' Zambian subsidiary Mwembeshi Resources said in March it planned to start copper production at the Kangaluwe project in the Lower Zambezi National Park by 2015.
But a spokeswoman for Zambia's environmental management agency, which has to approve all huge infrastructure projects, told Reuters the project had been rejected.
"The proposed site is not suitable for the nature of the project since it is located in the middle of a national park," said spokeswoman Ireen Chipili.
Following the announcement of the planned project, environmentalists had been lobbying the government against allowing the mine.
Zambezi Resources Limited: Kangaluwi Copper mine project is quashed, shares down 25 pct
Economy News (Zambia)
13 September 2012
This publication recently warned that investors were facing a massive risk by backing the attempts made by Zambezi Resources Limited (ASX:ZRL) to mine in a Zambian national park. That article is here.
Now, the risks to investors that the project posed has been brutally borne out following news that Zambia's Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has quashed the Kangaluwi project on environmental grounds.
Shares are 25 pct lower in response.
No comment on the matter has yet been forthcoming from legal counsel and non-executive chairman of Zambezi Resources Ltd David Vilensky.
The company said in March it planned to start copper production at the project in the Lower Zambezi National Park by 2015.
"The proposed site is not suitable for the nature of the project since it is located in the middle of a national park," said ZEMA spokeswoman Ireen Chipili.
Dr Ian Manning who had been leading the campaign against the project via Change.org welcomed the decision and urged ZEMA not to capitulate on the decision. In an open letter to the Zambian Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Manning said:
"ZEMA is to be congratulated on refusing the mining operation in the Lower Zambezi National Park. I would now appeal to you to refuse to review the decision, and certainly not to overturn it.
"There are serious questions to ask about ZAWA and the Ministry of Mines' part in this disgraceful affair. Under the Mines and Mineral Development Act of 2008 and the Wildlife Act no such mining should be allowed. It is clear that there has been corruption and dysfunction which brings shame on Zambia. This is not what I went to war on the PF's behalf for, having my investments removed by the MMD Government, imprisoned and thrown out of the country under OP guard.
"And while I laud ZEMA's decision I have to question its failure to follow due process. The consequences of allowing the Australians to plunder the National Park and the GMA will reverberate around the world and will affect Zambia's standing - particularly at the UNWTO summit. Those of us who served in the Game Department for many years will not stand idly by and see our life's work plundered.
"The President promised me he would do away with ZAWA. At the least we need an inquiry, and not a brushing under the carpet as occurred with Mosi oa Tunya etc."