Legal Reforms as a Tool for Sustainable Development in Former Mining Communities: A Case Study of Kabwe Lead-Zinc Mine, Zambia

A Case Study of Kabwe Lead-Zinc Mine, Zambia


The mining legacy in Zambia has seen the rise and fall of towns and cities built around the mines which flourish when the mine is in its operational phase but perish once the mine closes. Sustainable Development initiatives at the regional and international level have been formulated and agreed upon for community development requirements in mining laws for resource rich countries to implement in their countries. A research study was established to investigate the effects of the closure of Kabwe lead-zinc in Zambia, on the local community in the context of sustainable development, and examine the laws and policies that affect the mining sector in the country. This was to ascertain the impact that these have on communities adjacent to mining operations, across the mine life cycle and propose what legal reforms can be enacted to actualize the concept of sustainable development in the mining communities. A mixed research approach was adopted using both the quantitative and qualitative methods. Purposive and snowballing sampling techniques were used to select respondents. A total of 100 questionnaires were administered and the study received a response of 79%. Closed and open questionnaires, focus group discussions and interview guides were used to collect data from respondents. The study revealed that due to lack of laws on the sustainable development of the mining community at the time of the closure of the mine in Kabwe, economic activities dwindled and most former mine workers have ended up being engaged in other activities, mostly agriculture to earn a living. The study also revealed the need to have laws in place to regulate the mine closure in terms of benefits, but revealed a general lack of understanding on the concept of sustainable development