In August 2023, conservationists in Zambia heaved a sigh of relief when the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) cancelled a decision to allow for mining in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park (LZNP) by Mwembeshi Resources Limited, bringing a 12-year environmental standoff to a halt.

Established as a National Park in 1983, LZNP covers an area of 4,092 square kilometers along the northwestern bank of the Zambezi River. Prior to its establishment as a national park, the area was the private game reserve of Zambia’s president, which protected it from mass tourism and left it relatively untouched. A pristine wildlife sanctuary and famous tourist attraction, LZNP is home to 124 species of animals including large herds of elephants, buffaloes, 403 species of birds and 54 species of aquatic animals. Further Lower Zambezi is a vital part of the wider Zambezi basin, a significant shared resource that contributes to the economic, environmental, and social development of Southern Africa.

In 2011, Mwembeshi Resources Limited (majorly owned by a Chinese conglomerate) applied for mining rights in the park in and submitted an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which ZEMA rejected. Read more