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ZAMBIA: Environmentalists Caution New Mine Investors

The Times of Zambia (Lusaka)
March 6th, 2000

A non-governmental organisation has cautioned the new mine investors not to willfully pollute the environment despite a bill which indemnifies them from litigation against environmental degradation. Citizens for a better environment, a Kitwe based NGO, warned that should the new mines violate the rights of the people to a clean environment, they would face the wrath of the public.

Executive director Peter Sichamba appealed to Government to do more consultations with stakeholders before amending certain laws to avoid exposing the public to risk. He was reacting to the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill being tabled in Parliament.

Mr. Sichamba said bills which have been passed with little or no consultation had resulted in Government being forced to withdraw them. He said the his organisation was particularly unhappy with a clause which gives the new mines environmental indemnity for up to 20 years.

He said the new mine owners should know that despite that clause, citizens had a right to a clean environment which they should not violate. He appealed to the mines to generate wealth in a responsible manner and leave no environmental burden for posterity.

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