The Zambian government says the controversial open-pit copper mining project in the Lower Zambezi National Park will go ahead.
Many conservationists and civil society organizations have opposed the Kangaluwi Open Pit Mining Project by Australian-based company, Zambezi Resources Limited.
In 2019, thousands of people signed a petition against it.
But Zambia’s green economy and environment minister, Collins Nzovu, has told privately owned Radio Phoenix that after exhausting legal processes and the courts dismissing an appeal to stop the proposed large scale open-pit mine, the project will now go ahead.
He says the state has been left with no option but to monitor the situation and ensure the developer operates within strict conditions.
According to earth.org, the proposed site for the mine lies inside an International Conservation Union category II protected area in south-eastern Zambia, on the Zambezi River.
The Lower Zambezi National Park provides refuge to globally threatened wildlife species such as elephants and wild dogs and is home to unique vegetation types including the only protected and intact lowland deciduous thickets in the southern African region.
The organization warns that the potential long-term impact of this mine and the environmental threat it poses to the renewable resources of the Zambezi River ecosystem far outweigh any short-term economic benefits.
River pollution caused by the mine could threaten the Zambezi river’s 2,000-tonne subsistence fishery, which provides food and protein security to 20,000 people along the river’s banks, adds earth.org.