By PERPETUAL SICHIKWENKWE –
SIX non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been granted an injunction restraining Government’s decision to allow mining activities in the Lower Zambezi National Park.
This follows Government’s decision to award Zambezi Resources Copper a licence to embark on a mine in the Lower Zambezi National Park.
The organisations are Lusaka-based Community Based Natural Resource Management Forum, Zambia Institute of Environmental Management, Zambia Climate Change Network, Chalimbana River Head Waters Conservations Trust, Green Living Environment, and David Ngwenyama.
The organisations on Friday last week appealed to the High Court against Government’s decision to allow the opening of the mine in the national park.
Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Minister Harry Kalaba on January 17, 2014 allowed Zambezi Resources Copper to open a mining project in the park to be known as Kangaluwe Mine.
However, the NGOs sought the intervention of the court, saying Government should heed the concerns raised by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) as part of its rejection of the Environmental Impact Study (EIS).
They said Government had failed to address the negative impact of mining on the livelihoods and well-being of citizens.
The NGOs said it was strange that the project was allowed to go ahead despite the EIS failing to meet the required standards.
They further contended that if the project was allowed, the rural communities living in the areas around the park would suffer due to pollution of the water sources.
In granting the NGOs an ex-parte application for an order of staying execution of Mr Kalaba’s decision, High Court Judge Mubanga Kondolo said the decision should be stayed pending the hearing of the appeal against the decision.
Mr Justice Kondolo further ordered that the application granted to the NGOs was subject to an inter-parte hearing scheduled for February 18, 2014.