September 12, 2012 / 1:12 PM / 7 years ago

Zambia rejects copper project on environmental grounds

LUSAKA, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Zambia has rejected a proposal by Australia’s Zambezi Resources Ltd to develop a $494 million open cast copper mine in a game reserve, citing environmental concerns, a government agency said on Wednesday.

Zambezi Resources’ Zambian subsidiary Mwembeshi Resources said in March it planned to start copper production at the Kangaluwe project in the Lower Zambezi National Park by 2015.

But a spokeswoman for Zambia’s environmental management agency, which has to approve all huge infrastructure projects, told Reuters the project had been rejected.

“The proposed site is not suitable for the nature of the project since it is located in the middle of a national park,” said spokeswoman Ireen Chipili.

Following the announcement of the planned project, environmentalists had been lobbying the government against allowing the mine. (Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Ed Stoddard)

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