More than 50 000 people around the world have signed a petition to halt a controversial open-pit copper mine planned in the heart of the Lower Zambezi National Park, highlighting widespread public outrage and concern at the development of the mine.
The Lower Zambezi National Park is an integral part of the wider Zambezi basin, which is the most significant shared resource that contributes to the economic, environmental, and social development of southern Africa. Sustainable management of this resource is crucial in securing the futures of over 250 million people in the broader region that depend on it. Tourism establishments in the park and surrounding areas employ more than 1 000 local people, generating a local wage bill of $4 million annually that indirectly supports thousands more people at a local community level.
The petition, launched by a large coalition of CSOs, traditional leaders, artists, safari operators and other stakeholders, has been viewed by more than 760 000 people globally and shared more than 28 000 times.
This came after the Coalition launched a hard-hitting social media campaign called #SaveZambeziSafeZambezi to raise awareness of the issue. The campaign reached over 1.2-million people around the world in a brief period of six months.
In addition, a dynamic and captivating song was created by some of Zambia’s best-known artists, as part of the Save Zambezi, Safe Zambezi campaign to raise awareness around the need to halt a controversial open-pit copper mine in the Lower Zambezi National Park.
Called Zambezi Niyatu which means “Zambezi is ours,” it is the official song of the Save Zambezi, Safe Zambezi campaign. The song was launched at a landmark event in Lusaka and became a hit within a few days of being launched. Herewith link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLH5t82sWDs
The Zambian Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) in 2021 approved a highly controversial Environmental Impact Study, opening the way for the mine to go ahead. The CSO Coalition has expressed deep concern that if the mine goes ahead, it will not only risk contaminating water for communities in Zambia and Zimbabwe but for the whole Zambezi delta, potentially destroying farming and fishing livelihoods and one of the largest tourism destinations for Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.
River pollution caused by the mine could threaten the Zambezi rivers 2 000-ton subsistence fishery, which directly provides food and protein security to 20 000 people along the river’s banks. Eco-tourism in the area depends largely on the renewable wildlife and habitat resources and contributes significantly to the local and national economies around the Lower Zambezi National Park.
The Coalition renews its call on all Zambians, and everyone who cares about the future of this region, to sign the petition to halt the Kangaluwi mine. You will find the petition on the website change.org, under the name SaveZambeziSafeZambezi.
Sign the petition https://www.change.org/SaveZambeziSafeZambezi Join the movement https://www.facebook.com/savezambezi
See Zambezi Valley Conservation Network article for a comprehensive overview of the issue:
For further information, please contact:
World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature
Conservation Lower Zambezi