Potential mining activity in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park is threatening its ecosystem and that of the adjacent Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe. The two national parks, rich in wildlife and one of the last bastions of huge elephant populations in Southern Africa, are situated less than 200 kilometres downstream from the hydroelectric Kariba Dam .
Wildlife and environmental activists are alarmed with the call for investment in mining at Kangaluwi, an area being considered as part of a greater World Heritage Area to include the two national parks on both sides of the Zambezi River.
The Lower Zambezi National Park is due to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as a result of the Zambian Government's agreement not to allow mining there.
That's sad! I hear the company that has been granted a mining licence is only awaiting the EIA results which, as soon as they are available, should see them starting operations. And the company's CEO believes God placed the resources there for them to be harvested and that the fact that the mining has to be done in particularly that area should be blamed on geology. What say you?
Reads the Change.org petition :
The Lower Zambezi National Park was due to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as a result of the Zambian government's agreement not to allow mining there. However, Zambia has since allowed an environmental impact statement to be tendered by the Austrailian company, Zambezi Resources for a massive open-pit mining operation in the park, suggesting a change of mind on the part of the Patriotic Front government. Should mining go ahead, one of the last great areas of primary nature in Zambia – including as it does the Mana Pools National Park ( a World Heritage Site) in Zimbabwe and the Mid-Zambezi Biosphere Reserve, would be severely damaged.
Diane Abspoel who has visited the Lower Zambezi National Park writes on Facebook :
Has anyone realised that that due to the central position of [the] proposed mine the whole park will be lost to tourism (read safaris) as the consequences and inf[r]a structure of the miningarea will [be] impossible to miss. And so the experience of a remote and true wilderness will be lost. I visited the area years ago and althought i have seen many beatiful places in Africa this remains on the top of my list.
Increased mining, if it goes ahead, will bring an influx of people in this sparsely populated area where tourism is the main economic activity, and with it will come the encroachment on the wildlife habitat and poaching that comes with increased human activity.