Tourism and Arts Minister Ronald Chitotela has disclosed that his Ministry has still not yet received an application from Australian miner, Zambezi Resources Limited, to commence mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park, and, therefore, no mining will take place.
Speaking during a press briefing held at Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya’s office, Chitotela who was in the company of Mines Minister Richard Musukwa told journalists that no mining would commence in the Lower Zambezi National Park.
“It must be made very clear that the Mining Development Act requires the mining operator to obtain authority from the Minister of Tourism and Arts for them to enter the national park that they will apply for special conditions to be set by the Minister of Tourism and Arts. And I want to confirm to the Zambian people that, to-date, we have not received an application. That’s why we want to assure the Zambian people, therefore, that, because of that, mining can’t take place in the Lower Zambezi because the one who is intending (Zambezi Resources) to begin mining in Lower Zambezi has not applied to the Minister of Tourism for special conditions,” Chitotela disclosed.
In documenting how the controversial decision to approve mining in the Lower Zambezi was granted, Chitotela insisted that former Lands Minister, Harry Kalaba, who ditched the PF to form the Democratic Party, remained solely responsible for overturning the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) board’s rejection.
“Yes! Hon. Harry Kalaba did overturn the decision of the ZEMA board. I was going through the documents this (Wednesday) morning when ZEMA first rejected, in 2012, a Mr. ‘Sweata’, who is a chief executive officer for Mwembeshi Mining Resources (subsidiary of Zambezi Resources Limited) appealed to then Minister of Lands, Hon. Wilbur Simuusa; Honourable Simuusa sent the appeal to ZEMA board; ZEMA board did reject again, the decision to approve the report for them to begin mining. In 2014, a Mr ‘Sweata’ wrote and appealed to Honourable Harry Kalaba, the letter is there, it’s not a confidential document, and my brother, Harry, according to the information we have, he overturned the decision of the ZEMA board and granted the rights,” revealed Chitotela.
“But what does that mean? He only granted them to operate…the ZEMA report stated they should operate within the period of three years, and 2014-2019 is five years. So, the fuse out there by the Zambian people must be put to rest that there’s no ZEMA report for Lower Zambezi because the report expired in 2017. There is no ZEMA report today. Even those, agitating, wanting to demonstrate for or against mining in the Lower Zambezi; there is no mining in Lower Zambezi as at today. I don’t see it even in the next one year because the process is very tedious!”