TIZ welcomes cancellation of mining licence in Lower Zambezi



…. for canceling of lower Zambezi mining license

Transparency International Zambia (TI-Z) has commended the decision by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) to cancel the decision letter issued in 2021 pertaining to the large scale mining project by Mwembeshi Resource Limited in the Lower Zambezi National Park in Luangwa district.

TIZ Executive Director Maurice Nyambe says this decision, being based on the mining company’s failure to comply with certain conditions, is a good example of ZEMA holding companies accountable to environmental regulations.

Mr. Nyambe says this is very welcome, given foremost the manner in which the licence for this project was awarded in the first place, which raised serious questions about whether the project was well-intended and in public developmental interest.

“Secondly, TI-Z welcomes ZEMA’s decision considering that even after the said company was found in violation of the decision letter, ZEMA did in fact halt and suspend the mining project through a compliance order issued in May this year. ZEMA’s letter outlining the conditions breached by the mine shows that the mine was not operating in good faith and in compliance with stipulated standards.

It also shows that the mining company wantonly had no regard for the sensitive environment it was operating in being an area designated as a national park. This also goes to show to a great extent that the mining project had no intentions to honour the commitments stated in its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and decision letter issued by ZEMA,” said Mr Nyambe.

“In view of this development, TI-Z implores ZEMA to enhance their monitoring of projects in order to ensure that mining projects in particular comply with the law and commitments as stated in respective EIS reports and decision letters. TI-Z also urges ZEMA to continue to espouse transparency in its operations vis-à-vis ensuring that standards are met for holding public consultations and public hearings for environmental impact assessments, as well as in continuing to improve the public availability of EIS reports and decision letters.”

He recommended better coordination between ZEMA and the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development in the issuance of mining licences.

“Ideally, mining licences should be issued prior to a licence or mining right being awarded as opposed to current practice which has led to some contentious projects, such as the aforementioned, being given approval albeit questionably.

Further, ZEMA and the Ministry of Mines should also improve coordination for monitoring compliance and enhance mechanisms for complaint reporting of mining projects. TI-Z continues to call for increased accountability and transparency in this regard,” he concluded.


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