Oil shortage
(Image: Unsplash/Zbynek Burival)

The Zambezi River arises in the North Western Province of  Zambia and flows in a loose, curling "S" shape for more than 2500km through eastern Angola, along the north-eastern border of Namibia and the northern border of Botswana, then along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

A few hundred kilometres before it swoops south through Mozambique to its delta at the Indian Ocean is the Lower Zambezi National Park. The park has a huge density of elephants, a modest number of high-end tourist places, and no paved roads. And, for over decade, it has been the centre of an ongoing and bizarre fight for the resources apparently beneath it.

In early November, Zambia's Tourism Minister Ronald Chitotela suddenly withdrew permission for a company called Mwembeshi Resources to mine in the park, saying it will remain closed to mining until the country’s environmental regulator completes a fresh report on the potential impacts of extractive activities in the area as the last study expired in 2017. It's the last in a series of twists and turns regarding the mine.