The BMR which is listed on the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market plans to revive the mining project in two phases and is expected to create over 100 direct jobs from the onset with 300 more expected to be created as more components of the project are introduced.
According an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report lead and zinc plant forecasts to process about 3,000 tons of copper ore per month to produce about 100 tons of copper concentrates per month, while the lead and zinc project will produce 171,120 tons in five years.
“EPL also proposes to establish the copper processing plant on site. The copper ore in the main will be sourced from within a 150-kilometre radius of Kabwe, old Kabwe concentrator located within the existing EPL mine license area,” according to the report.
It is proposed that this plant and the lead and zinc recovery project will be built near the old site. However, various environmental stakeholders in collaboration with among other donors, the World Bank had within a year, raised resources to overcome the environmental effects-chiefly the remains of the lead substance that was affecting the people in the area.
The World Bank has proposed to invest over US$50m to help clean up the environmental damage caused to Kabwe, among other towns. Kabwe is one of the oldest mining towns, where operations and mining of lead and zinc started around 1903.
Kabwe mine closure ‘justified’ ………’Pollution, human health concerns and environmental degradation cited’.
Mphande----'I Unilaterally and single-handedly closed Kabwe mine' ZMM April 29 (Zambia Informer) ------- Kabwe mine was shut down indefinitely despite its economic benefit to the town because of pollution, environmental degradation and concerns for human life, Mathias Mphande, a former deputy minister says.
The once industrious and mining town, located 150 kilometres from the capital, Lusaka, centrally located between the north and eastern Zambia, is seemingly a “ghost” town now with many of its population in dire straits after the closure of among other companies, the mines, quasi-government and other private companies over the years because of various concerns let alone, for environmental reasons.
According to Mphande, he was forced to participate and be one of the pioneers of the closure of the lead and zinc Kabwe mine in the early 1996 because of consequences and cost benefits that were accrued in the process of its operations despite some resistance and the need to retain jobs.
Despite some of the urgent and pressing needs to review the operations of the lead and zinc producer, many leaders at the time looked elsewhere at the expense of regulating, penalizing and pressuring stakeholders to do the right thing, which resulted in various social and environmental impacts on the community of Kabwe.
“I single handedly and unilaterally, alone, closed Kabwe mine when I was minister (deputy in the Frederick Chiluba Government)…….I was listening to my civil servants, the technocrats, fellow ministers and the President but understanding the consequences of the subsidies which Government gave to the town, I found it difficult to leave the mine operational……..I was however fired for my action but I’m alive.” Said Mphande, a renowned mineralogist and lecturer in the school of mines at the University of Zambia. These are besides his traditional role-Chief Mphande of Mbala.
He however, maintains that despite the outcome of his foresight and concern for the environmental degradation and the welfare of the people which led to his dismissal from Government, argues that posterity or history will judge him for his action to demand closure of the mine.
Kabwe, with an estimated population of over 300,000 people has faced lead and zinc pollution among the general populace chiefly in among other residential areas, Makululu where remains of mining activities have left the soil and water reservoirs vulnerable to pollution. Kabwe is rated among the 10 most polluted areas in the world.
However, despite some of the earlier concerns, efforts are underway by London-based Berkeley Mining, under its Enviro Processing Limited to re-open the mining activities, after approval is granted by Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA).
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