State, Mining Companies and Communities: A History of Environmental Pollution and Regulation in the Zambian Copperbelts (1964 to 2021)


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


International Studies Group


The proposed monograph examines the historical development of mining-related pollution and environmental management on the ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Zambian Copperbelts from 1964 to 2021. This will be done through an investigation of the roles of the state and mining companies involved in the management of the sector, as well as communities affected by the mining process. The book analyses developments in environmental regulation in line with local, political and economic transitions in the country such as the introduction of one-party-state, nationalisation and privatization; as well as global and regional environmental management efforts that influenced local policies. Given the concentration of mining in two provinces of the Copperbelt region, the book will provide a comparative study of two mines from the ‘Old’ Copperbelt- Nkana and Mufulira, as well as two from the ‘new’ Copperbelt - Kansanshi and Kalumbila. While the inclusion of ‘new’ Copperbelt is significant due to limited research on environmental management in the region, the comparative aspect is just as significant given variations in the two mining regions such as mine ownership, mining techniques and period of existence. The central argument of the book is that environmental pollution has been a significant challenge in the Zambian mining industry since independence and that despite this, mining-induced pollution and its effects on the wider environment have been poorly managed by successive governments through uncomprehensive regulation.