Former Zambian President Rupiah Banda on Friday joined other stakeholders in opposing plans to develop a copper mine in one of the country’s national parks.

The decision to allow Australian-owned mining firm, Mwembeshi Resources Limited, to commence mining operations in the Lower Zambezi National Park has received a backlash from various stakeholders, including founding President Kenneth Kaunda.

The stakeholders say that allowing mining in the national park will disturb wildlife as well as ecosystem.

In a statement released by his deputy administrative assistant Chibeza Mfuni, the former Zambian president said he was concerned with reports that a permit has been granted for mining operations in the national park.

“I am opposed to this project because I am not convinced that due regard was given to a number of important considerations, such as the negative impact this mine would have on the lives, livelihoods and health of the people, especially those who live along the river an depend on it for food, fishing activities and agriculture,” he said.

Banda, who ruled Zambia from August 2008 to September 2011, expressed fears that allowing mining in the national park will negatively affect the environment as mining activities impact rivers because of the sludge and other harmful chemicals and residues that are offloaded in the river and surrounding areas.

This alone means that the people are exposed to all manner of health risks, and economic ruin as they will no longer make a living from fishing, he added. Enditem

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