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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:31, December 23, 2006
Zambia orders largest copper mine firm to be responsible for polluting Kafue River
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The Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) has completed the investigations into the pollution of Kafue River by the country's largest copper mine company and ordered it to take responsibility for their actions.

ECZ Director Edward Zulu said on Friday that legal proceedings would be commenced against the Konkola Copper Mines ( KCM), should the mining company fail to comply with provisions of law on pollution.

A KCM tailing pipeline burst on November 6, causing pollution to the Kafue River and affecting normal water supplies to residents in the Copperbelt province. Several people fell sick after eating dead fish which were poisoned by the polluted water.

Zulu said the accident was a result of wear and tear of the firm's old pipeline due to the pumping of acidic tailings without neutralization.

Following the pollution into the Chingola stream and the Kafue river in Copperbelt province which damaged the environment and severely restricted water supplies to Chingola for five days, the KCM should have mitigation measures, Zulu said.

The measures should have included dredging silts in the Mushishima stream and Kafue river and the Hippo pool that were affected by mining operations, offering alternative water supplies and medical and social assistance to affected people.

The KCM should also have assisted repairing or replacing damaged infrastructure and address the issue of damage.

The KCM, jointly owned by the Zambian government and Indian mining firm Vedanta Resources, has suspended the copper production at its Nchanga plant.

Source: Xinhua

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