The Lusaka High Court in Zambia has granted an order for a stay of execution of the Zambian Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection decision to overturn the Zambia Environmental Management Agency’s (ZEMA) rejection of Zambezi Resources’ Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for its 100% owned Kangaluwi Copper Project in Zambia.

In the proceedings commenced the Zambian Government is the first respondent, with Mwembeshi Resources Limited (MRL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Zambezi, the second respondent.

The stay of execution was granted pending the outcome of an appeal against the Minister’s decision that was lodged by an applicant group representing various organisations associated with the conservation movement in Zambia.

Following the grant of the stay of execution, and pending the outcome of the court proceedings now on foot, Zambezi is temporarily unable to act on the approvals it has received from ZEMA to proceed with the development of its Kangaluwi Copper Project, located in the Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia.

At a court hearing listed on 18 February 2014, The Zambian Government and Zambezi Resources were given the opportunity to present their case.

On 18 February 2014, the Lusaka High Court in Zambia adjourned an inter parte appeal hearing until 5 March 2014.

On 5 March 2014, the Lusaka High Court in Zambia concluded the inter party appeal hearing in respect of Zambezi Resources’ 100% owned Kangaluwi Copper Project in Zambia.

The Judge reserved his decision in the case and indicated he will hand it down as soon as possible after 14 March 2014. The two key legal issues on which the Judge indicated he would rule upon were the stay of execution and the irregularity of the appeal.

At the latest hearing the appellants sought a further adjournment, which was declined by the Judge, who did however allow any party to file further material by 14 March 2014.

Accordingly, the stay of execution remained in place until the decision was handed down.

As announced on Monday, 7 April 2014, the Lusaka High Court in Zambia has allowed an application by representatives of environmental groups to amend legal proceedings in respect of Zambezi Resources’ 100% owned Kangaluwi Copper Project in Zambia.

Following technical arguments, the Judge allowed the appellants to retrospectively amend their original notice of appeal, which was irregular with respect to certain matters including the identity and standing of some appellants.

Zambezi Resources is now awaiting a date for the hearing of the appeal itself where the substantial issues submitted by both parties will be determined.

Pending determination of that hearing, the Judge extended a stay of execution that temporarily prevents Mwembeshi Resources Limited (MRL), a subsidiary of Zambezi, from commencing operations on the site in accordance with its mining licence, issued by the Ministry of Mines Energy and Water Development in 2011. Both Zambezi Resources and the Zambian Government had sought that the stay of execution be discharged but the Judge preferred to preserve the status quo pending the hearing of the appeal.

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