Mining As A Source Of Underdevelopment In Zambia Economics Essay

Zambia is a poorness ridden, developing state fighting to last in a competitory international market. The beginning of this state ‘s underdevelopment stems from the 2nd moving ridge colonialism where Europeans exploited the excavation industry in Zambia, peculiarly Cu, to fuel industrial growing back place. Consequently, a dependance on excavation was created and still exists today as an built-in beginning of foreign capital for this underdeveloped state. This paper will reason that the underdevelopment in Zambia is aggravated by the current excavation industry that generates negative economic, environmental, and societal impacts. The economic impacts of the excavation industry include an undiversified economic system and dependance on Core states for loans and manufactured goods. These are apparent through the international trade industry and the debt generated over the past 50 old ages. In add-on to the economic impacts of excavation in Zambia, the harm to the environment that this industry creates besides affects the agricultural sector as the land becomes infertile from acerb rain and chemical taint. Finally, the societal impacts of the excavation industry in Zambia are apparent through the labour issues employees in the mines face including deficient wages, deficiency of benefits, and misdemeanor of safe excavation patterns. My connexion to Zambia is through its excavation industry. Minerals, such as Cu, are incorporated in legion mundane objects like cooking utensil and computing machines. As a pupil in Development Studies, I can non assist but inquire if it is just for the people of Zambia to endure for my benefit and the benefit of the Global North.

History of Colonialism in Zambia:

Before researching the negative impacts of excavation in Zambia today, it is of import to be cognizant of the beginnings of this industry and the damaging impacts of colonialism. Zambia, once referred to as Northern Rhodesia, was ruled by the British South African Company ( BSAC ) from1890-1923 and the Colonial Office from1924-1964 ( Phiri 2006 ) . During Colonial Office regulation, the Copper Belt, rich in Cu sulphide ores, was discovered in the northern part of Zambia ( Ibid ) . The Copper Belt was exhaustively exploited by European settlers due to the demand for natural stuffs to make manufactured goods brought on by the Industrial Revolution ( Cunningham 1981 ) . The development of the Copper Belt during this period fostered uneven development. For illustration, since the extraction of Cu increased trade in Zambia, merely the countries near railwaies, that were critical for the transit of minerals, were non impoverished ( Phiri 2006 ) . Europeans besides assumed political laterality and were loath to supply the Africans with any kind of power because Africans were considered “ politically immature ” ( Phiri 2006 ) .

Dependence and control by the West began early and due to the strong political control of the Europeans, the people of Zambia were left powerless, as they were unable to do alterations to the economic acrobatics of their society. Colonialism organized the Zambian economic system to be centered on the excavation industry as they built substructure, such as railwaies, to ease trading with the developed universe ( Phiri 2006 ) . Zambia became portion of an international division of labor where settlements were forced to make a peculiar trade good that would merely profit the development of the West and keep a weak economic system in the South. Underdevelopment theoreticians would hold with this statement, as they believe that colonialism is a primary ground for Zambia being classified as a fringe state today.

Zambia ‘s Current Mining Industry:

Economic Impacts of Mining in Zambia:

The economic impacts of the excavation industry in Zambia are an undiversified economic system and dependance on the Core for loans and manufactured goods. These impacts are evident through the trade industry and the brawny debt generated over the past 50 old ages. An undiversified economic system is harmful because it makes Zambia more susceptible to economic crisis as the state relies on the trade of one trade good ( Sichingabula 1994 ) . Today, 64 % of Zambia ‘s exports are copper-cobalt minerals ( Cardinal Intelligence Agency 2010 ) . With such a big part of foreign capital stemming from net incomes made in the excavation industry, it is no admiration this state ‘s economic system about collapsed during the Oil Crisis in the 1970s.

After independency in 1964, Zambia refused to spread out and travel off from the acquaintance of Cu trading that was imposed during colonial regulation ( Sichingabula 1994 ) . This is largely due to the high Cu monetary values between the 1960s and 1970s that allowed the Zambian economic system to boom in the international market ( Ibid ) . Unfortunately, this economic roar came to a destructive terminal as Cu monetary values declined in the 1970s and the cost of fuel rose due to the Oil Crisis ( Ibid ) . This was peculiarly damaging because oil is critical for the transit of Cu abroad. These major monetary value alterations forced this one-commodity state to obtain more capital from Core states to maintain the excavation industry afloat ( Ibid ) . The consequence is heavy debt and being trapped in the barbarous rhythm of adoption.

Today, Zambia is about $ 3.091 billion in debt ( Cardinal Intelligence Agency 2010 ) . This debt is aggravated by the excavation industry as the trust on the Cu trade continues. The demand for Cu is being replaced by a rise in popularity of man-made substances that are created unnaturally ( Servant 2010 ) . Zambia can non run into this turning demand and, hence, is unable to gain adequate foreign capital to alleviate itself of the tremendous sum of debt it carries. It appears the quickest solution is to borrow more money from the Core.

In add-on to trusting on the North for foreign capital to pay off debt, Zambia imports manufactured goods, such as agricultural machinery, to spur development ( Sichingabula 1994 ) . Unfortunately, trade between Zambia and the Core is rather uneven. The Core about ever has the upper manus as Zambia is forced to merchandise low-cost primary trade goods for costly engineerings. The Zambian agricultural industry still relies on crude signifiers of cultivation, such as the cut and burn technique ( Biz/ed 2010 ) . This method involves cutting subdivisions off of trees and firing them on land where cultivation is to take topographic point ( Ibid ) . It is widely believed that a more alimentary rich dirt will be created, nevertheless, it frequently leads to deforestation and loss of dirt birthrate due to overdrive of the land ( Ibid ) . Therefore, it is indispensable that Zambia get these manufactured goods from the Core for the interest of the environment and the agricultural sector.

Environmental Impacts of Mining in Zambia:

The harm to the environment created by the excavation industry in Zambia non merely poses a wellness hazard but besides puts a strain on the agricultural industry as husbandmans struggle to do usage of land contaminated by air and H2O pollution. Air and H2O pollution are merely some of the many environmental by-products created through the excavation industry that impact the wellness of Zambians. Contaminants, such as S dioxide, created from the copper-smelting procedure, causes terrible respiratory unwellnesss and take a breathing troubles ( Servant 2010 ) .

Additionally, H2O pollution by mining companies poses a wellness hazard for communities across Zambia. For illustration, on November 6, 2006 Vendanta, a transnational excavation company based in India and operating as Konkola Copper Mines ( KCM ) in Zambia, heedlessly released toxic waste in the Kafue River in the Lusaka state of Zambia ( Servant 2010 ) . Of the two million people in the Chingola territory, 100, 000 on a regular basis draw H2O straight from the Kafue River ( Ibid ) . These people were deprived of imbibing H2O for two yearss and 100s were admitted to infirmaries after devouring fish from this contaminated organic structure of H2O ( Ibid ) . Clearly, the wellness jobs that come along with the air and H2O pollution generated by Zambian excavation companies is a turning issue that needs to be contained for the interest of the people.

One of the major ways in which excavation pollutants impact the agricultural sector is through acerb rain and improper disposal of chemical wastes. Acid rain in Zambia is created when sulfur dioxide mixes with H2O vapor in the air, which changes the chemical science of dirt and hinders photosynthesis in workss ( Dymond 2007 ) . For illustration, the agricultural industry in Chingola has been badly harmed by acid rain and the dirt has been contaminated to the point that vegetable harvests no longer turn in the part ( Bid/ed 2010 ) . Chemical wastes from mining are besides a jeopardy as arsenic and C monoxide can ooze into dirt and groundwater, if non decently disposed of ( Ibid ) . These wastes are largely created during the procedure of dividing Cu ore that leaves behind acidic liquid incorporating spots of deposit ( Dymond 2007 ) . If left in H2O beginnings, the deposit will construct up and halter the growing of harvests turning in Zambian communities nearby ( Ibid ) . For illustration, husbandmans near KCM ‘s Nchanga works have experienced harvest loss due to sediment and silt that floods the Fieldss to the point that they are no longer useable ( Ibid ) . Obviously, the environmental impacts of excavation have a ripple consequence as other sectors of Zambia ‘s economic system, such as the agricultural industry, are besides harmed.

Social Impacts of Mining in Zambia:

The societal effects of excavation in Zambia are evident through the labour issues mineworkers face including meager wages, deficiency of benefits, and misdemeanor of safe excavation patterns. It appears that Zambian excavation companies put net income before the rights of their employees as they barely of all time acquire paid overtime, are forced to work seven yearss and hebdomad, and money is deducted from their regular wage if they are late or miss yearss because of an unwellness ( Dymond 2007 ) .

Miners are about treated every bit slaves as they are overworked and ne’er provided with interruptions. Contract workers are non provided with a company pension program or free medical attention. There is really small occupation security as some employees have identified that they have non signed any documents to warrant they will hold a occupation following hebdomad ( Ibid ) .

In footings of the excavation industry in Zambia, it is estimated that the human death frequence is 71/ 100, 000 employee old ages ( Michelo, Moen 2009 ) . This is rather big sing developed states, such as Canada, have a human death frequence of 17/ 100,000 ( Ibid ) . These statistics are apprehensible when one looks at the extent to which worker safety is disregarded. Some workers say that they are non provided with the proper equipment to execute their occupations. For illustration, belowground workers should be provided with two braces of disposable baseball mitts a hebdomad but are merely given one brace a month ( Dymond 2007 ) . Furthermore, much of the protective vesture required to work in mines must be purchased by the employee and is non supplied by the company ( Ibid ) . In another illustration of the deficiency of work safety, KCM underground mineworkers should non work in an unsupported roof-span of more than two metres so as to cut down rock-fall ( Ibid ) . Unfortunately, KCM employees have confessed to being paid “ by the meter ” and, accordingly, frequently work under unsafe conditions ( Ibid ) . From the grounds above, it is evident that the excavation industry in Zambia has several societal impacts as it critically violates workers ‘ rights

Underdevelopment and Zambia:

One theory that is indispensable to cognize in order to understand why Zambia is classified as a developing state is the underdevelopment theory. The underdevelopment theory revolves around the thought of colonialism as being a cardinal ground for impoverishing today ‘s developing states, as mentioned antecedently. Developing states rely on the Core for investing, trade, and loans. Zambia embodies all of these features and it is true that the excavation industry furthers this destitute province through the economic, environmental, and societal impacts stated above.

With respects to the economic impacts, the excavation industry aggravates Zambia ‘s underdevelopment by promoting it to be a one-commodity state. Diversification is necessary in order to make a more stable economic system that will non be as susceptible to crisis. The monetary value of Cu, and other minerals, can be rather unpredictable. Therefore, if Zambia were to spread out its trade industry to include more trade goods, there would be something to fall back on when the value of Cu all of a sudden drops. With variegation, this developing state can divert away from aid from the Core. Zambia will non necessitate as many loans to do up for lost capital in its presently delicate economic system. There is some indicant that Zambia is trying to spread out its export trade goods to include non-traditional agribusiness, such as flowers ( Biz/ed 2010 ) . Flowers have a value in the international market and it is an first-class measure off from trust on the excavation industry ( Ibid ) .

The environmental impacts of the excavation industry in Zambia are declining underdevelopment because of the effects on the agricultural industry and the deficiency of enforcement of environmental ordinances ( Dymond 2007 ) . As stated earlier, the air and H2O pollution created from excavation workss is polluting dirt through acid rain and the improper disposal of chemical wastes ( Ibid ) . Consequently, harvests are hard to turn in countries near to excavation workss ( Kambiani 2003 ) . Diversification is of import to advance development but it is contradictory to this thought to hold one industry impeding the enlargement of another. 85 % of the Zambian labor force is in the agricultural industry ( Cardinal Intelligence Agency ) . Therefore, it is of import to guarantee that nil is done to harm this of import beginning of income for so many people and potentially increase the already high rates of unemployment. Unemployment Fosters underdevelopment, as more Zambians are unable to buy goods and services that would supply the state with the capital necessary to put in development plans.

Sustainable development is important to change by reversal underdevelopment by utilizing environmentally witting excavation methods and decently implementing environmental ordinances for companies. For illustration, the KCM indicates that they take steps to increase S dioxide gaining control and diminish the sum of solids in mine H2O and the usage of autochthonal trees ( Dymond 2007 ) . Although these are ecologically friendly ends, KCM fails on many histories of following through on them, as seen from the release of toxic waste in the Kafue River in 2006. As of now, mining companies, such as Vedanta self-regulate the environmental criterions set by Zambia ( Ibid ) . The Zambian authorities needs to take control of the excavation companies to guarantee sustainable methods are used to forestall farther injury to the agricultural industry and to the wellness of Zambians.

The societal impacts of the excavation industry in Zambia include labour issues, such as meager wages, deficiency of benefits, and misdemeanor of safe excavation patterns. Workers are slowed down by exhaustion from long hours on the occupation and the emphasis from the inability to supply for their households because of an deficient wage ( Dymond 2007 ) . In order to increase productiveness of workers increased wage and benefits must be granted. Presently, employees and excavation companies are unable to pay for instruction for their kids because of low rewards. In the undermentioned quotation mark, a worker negotiations about his adversity as a mineworker at KCM:

“ I have three kids but presently merely the eldest is in school. She is supposed to sit her class 9 test this twelvemonth, nevertheless, because of the adversities we are sing, I doubt whether she will be able to. We know instruction is really of import but ca n’t afford to direct [ the others ] to school. It is merely beyond our range as parents ” ( Dymond 2007:14 ) .

This is a big barrier to development because instruction is indispensable to run into the demand for skilled workers in Zambia and better the criterion of life for people across the state. Therefore, due to the negative impacts of the excavation industry, underdevelopment in Zambia is increasing and forestalling this state from growing and enlargement.


In decision, due to the economic, environmental, and societal impacts described above, underdevelopment in Zambia is declining. The economic impacts of the excavation industry are an undiversified economic system and dependance on the Core for capital and manufactured goods. This is apparent through the international trade industry and the tremendous debt generated. Mining in Zambia besides hurts the environment and affects the agricultural sector as the land becomes infertile from contaminations. Finally, the societal impacts of the excavation industry in Zambia are apparent through the labour issues faced by employees in the mines including deficient wages, deficiency of benefits, and misdemeanor of safe excavation patterns. In order to change by reversal underdevelopment in Zambia, it is necessary to diversify the economic system, pay closer attending to environmental ordinances and rights of employees in the mines. With these thoughts in head, Zambia can see great betterment in their economic system and the well being of their society.