Masebo, Kalaba differ over Lower Zambezi National Park mining


THE saga in which a foreign company has been issued a licence to dig minerals in the Kafue National Park has taken a new twist and pitted two senior Cabinet ministers against each other.
On the one hand is Sylvia Masebo, the Minister of Tourism and Arts, while on the other hand is Harry Kalaba of Lands, Environment and Natural Resources.
At the centre of the difference, which has attracted local and international attention, is a mining licence awarded to Mwembeshi Resources in the Lower Zambezi National Park where a huge number of Zambia’s wildlife – some of it endangered – lives.
Ms Masebo contends that Government risks losing safari fees amounting to over K84 million and photographic revenue amounting to over K9 million if mining is allowed in the national park.
In a submission to the parliamentary committee on tourism and arts on Tuesday, Ms Masebo opposed the decision to issue a mining licence to an Australian investor under the parent name of Zambezi Resources in the national park.
According to Radio Phoenix, Ms Masebo said her ministry feels that the mine project should not go ahead because it will put the existence of the Lower Zambezi National Park at risk.
She said the mine which will occupy about 25 percent will also reduce the tourism revenue earnings which benefit government and the local people in the area.
Ms Masebo said that her ministry follows a policy of sustainable tourism and granting of mining rights to Zambezi Resources Limited goes against that principle.
“My ministry’s view is that the ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection should reconsider its decision to allow mining activities in the Lower Zambezi National Park,” the minister said.
She further says important steps were ignored in that the basis for the issuance of the 25 year mining license is not clearly known and the license was issued before the environmental impact assessment  process was completed.
And Ms Masebo says plans to declare the Lower Zambezi as a world heritage site may not materialise if the mining activities are allowed to proceed and this might lead to an unprecedented campaign against Zambia’s tourism, which is a key sector in diversifying the economy.
Last week, the media was turned away from covering Ms Masebo’s presentation to the parliamentary committee on lands’ tourism and environment of her ministry’s position over the matter.
On January 20, this year, the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection approved the project, giving Zambezi Resources go-ahead for its Kangaluwi Copper Project.
Zambezi Resources Chairman David Vilensky complimented the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection for overturning the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) rejection of the company’s environmental impact study.
On September 5, 2012, ZEMA rejected the proposed large scale mining activities in Lower Zambezi National Park based on solid technical grounds.
The current law gives power to the minister of Environmental Protection to overturn the decision of ZEMA on appeal from an investor.
A consortium of more than 100 non-governmental organisations  opposed the mining project were last week granted a court injunction restraining Mwembeshi Resources from proceeding with mining in the park.


  1. The Lower Zambezi is a haven for tourism and one of the world’s most sensitive ecosystems. Masebo, as a wise Tourism Minister is right to stand her ground in this matter. This issue is not merely about environmental impact, it is one about common sense one. Zambezi Resources aspirations are bound to injure even the Australian Mining Standards, and looking at issues at play here, one can see that this project will be a disaster.

  2. Zambezi Resources does not have a licence to mine in the Kafue National Park.
    It was the Lower Zambezi National that was being referred to.

    • Same difference, It is still in a NATIONAL PARK, one that was designated as a future UNESCO Heritage Site. Why can’t you find another place to mine?

  3. He is the adamant on the mining even when it doesn’t make sense even to himself. Unless he has the IQ of a wet headless chicken.