This decision was announced when Minister of Information and chief government Spokesperson Dora Siliya, tourism minister Ronald Chitotela and mines minister Richard Musukwa held a joint press briefing where they indicated that there will be no mining activities that will take place in the Lower Zambezi, one of the most popular tourist destinations.
During the joint press briefing, the ministers re-emphasized President Edgar Lungu’s commitment to fight climate change and noted that there will be no mining allowed in the Lower Zambezi. The two line ministers – tourism and mines – further revealed that there has been no report by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency to allow the activity, therefore the government will not allow any mining in the Lower Zambezi.
Further, the ministers revealed that the prior decision made to allow mining in Lower Zambezi was not Cabinet decision but that of government, which former lands and natural resources minister Harry Kalaba championed.
You will all recall the vigour with which Zambians fought the decision of the Lusaka High Court that allowed mining to go ahead in Lower Zambezi. And what followed were government pronouncements that pointed to the fact that this activity was likely not to proceed. Finally, an official position has been made – no mining is to take place in the Lower Zambezi. This is a very good and heart-warming decision by government because it gives us energy to know that this government cares about our environment and took time to listen to concerns of ordinary citizens and environmental activists.
We had questioned the motive of Mr Kalaba to approve an environmental impact assessment for mining in the Lower Zambezi submitted by the developer when the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA). His argument that a minister can overturn the decision of ZEMA was baffling and quite unfortunate, especially that we were dealing with a delicate matter that got Zambians angry.
It is good that President Lungu’s government has said no to this. Thank you!