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Thursday, June 10, 2021

ZEMA orders Chambishi Copper Smelter plant shut down for polluting the environment

Economy ZEMA orders Chambishi Copper Smelter plant shut down for polluting the...

Chambishi Copper Mine
Chambishi Copper Mine

THE Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has ordered Chambishi Copper Smelter (CCS) to shut down its plant in Chambishi for allegedly polluting the environment.

ZEMA Northern region manager Patson Zulu said the agency ordered CCS, a Chinese-owned copper refinery, to shut down its plant and put in place measures to minimise sulphur dioxide which was affecting residents of the farming community.

Mr Zulu said CCS was ordered to shut down its plant following complaints by farmers in the surrounding farming communities that the sulphur dioxide emissions were destroying their crops.

He said the emissions had allegedly polluted the environment and destroyed farmers’ crops which were their source of livelihood.

“I can confirm that ZEMA has ordered CCS to shut down its plant in order to put in place certain measures that will prevent emissions from the smelter from polluting the environment,” he said.

He further said ZEMA officials conducted a visit at CCS yesterday to check on the measures the firm had put in place to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions.

Mr Zulu said the company was implementing certain measures according to ZEMA’s directives.

And the Citizens for Better Environment (CBE) has sued CCS for allegedly polluting the Luela farming community with Sulpher dioxide.

In a statement of claim in the Kitwe High Court, CBE claimed that CCS operates a smelter plant which processes and smelts copper and other metals, directly or indirectly discharges sulpher dioxide and other gaseous emissions.

CBE is seeking a declaration that the farmers of Leula community had a right to a safe and healthy environment and for an order for damages for the nuisance.


  1. Go to kitwe the air is very bad, this is surely good copper bad copper. if only the benefits of this toxic copper could reach the majority then it would be another story but the problem is always the Government in power as their the ones receiving taxes meant for the wilder citizenry. Sata where is the Tax you promised to charge the mines, iwe ka mudala ubufi too much is your tongue cursed.

    • When did you last go to Kitwe? There were two plants that were causing a lot of pollution, the Nkana smelter and the cobalt plant roster. These two plants are now shut and the pollution in Kitwe is very minimal now.

  2. Environmental safety concerns should just be addressed, closure wont help anyone,unless they fail to comply you should assist them meet safety requirements.

    • Measures to combat such pollution are readily available right here in Zambia. The issue is that there has been little political will (both at company level and national level) to address the matter. The company will still produce and make higher profits even if they do address the pollution problem. With the change seemingly being portrayed by government and ZEMA acting CCS must be compelled to act and address the pollution. Before they are allowed to reopen CCS must put in place a plan with timeframes of how they intend to address the pollution concern. I believe even the Nchanga smelter at KCM is also a culprit. If you can see ”smoke” out of the stack it just means that the process is not compliant as required by law (50mg/Nm3).

  3. Good step! Safety of the people first. If they want to continue making money they will soon have taken care of the environmental standards and can reopen.

    Well done ZEMA!

  4. ba ZEMA when you close the plant are you going to be paying those workers their salaries compared to the maize fields you are trying to protect who dont even pay tax to the goverment.kindly come up with a solution so that these company may follow in order to reduce the emission of sulpher in the air.

  5. Foolish ZEMA!! Is this the best solution they could find? What is going to happen to the workers at the smelter? One wonders what qualifications and experience these people at ZEMA have.

    • Your qualifications are also highly questionable and you posting from the USA I thought you would have known better….I take it you haven’t heard of the US Environmental Protection Agency? Do you honestly think CCS would have got off so lightly with them?
      Wake up!!

    • Its not only the workers at CCS, a lot of mines on the copperbelt sell their concentrate to CCS and furthermore Zambia has limited capacity for smelting all the concetrate. It will mean governtment has to lift the ban on export of concetrates before a lot of mines start closing down. I therefore feel ZEMA should just fine CCS or Compersate the farmers

    • Big J
      In due course they will compensated, please read the whole article…what’s more important to you – smelting concentrate or our environment? Its no wonder the mines run circles round you as you are too short-sighted; you only think about what you will eat for lunch today not what your grandchildren will eat in the long-term.
      Wake up!

  6. I think that this is a step in the right direction. The health of the workers and the community at large is the most imporatnt. Everybody seem to be focusing on just the plight of the farmers, but the mine workers are in fact at greater risk of encountering health problems now and in future. What the Chinese company is doing is unaccepatable and is punishable in other countries by hefty fines and even prosecution of the directors. These are crimes against humanity. They sure can’t do that in China. The issue has ripple implications in the sense that famers can’t produce crops and unhealthy mine workers can’t be 100% productive. The result is perennial stunted economic growth. This sadly has to happen in Zambia due to politics of poverty! Cry my beloved country.

  7. Measures to combat such pollution are readily available right here in Zambia. The issue is that there has been little political will (both at company level and national level) to address the matter. ZEMA must not approve any EIA that does adequately address pollution concern and the new installations should not even be allowed to commence production if they have not addressed pollution concerns. Heavy metal pollution is the reason our beloved Kabwe is among the ten most polluted places on earth. We must allow responsible investment to come into the country that will practice sustainable environmental management practices. Hope ZEMA will stand by its decision until CCS put on the table a realisable rectification plan.

  8. good work zema, make sure that they put everything in order before they reopen the smelter.and you guyz work accordingly don’t be buyers,you are there to help people.this is a rite time to do your work not when someone dies.

  9. The townships in the copperbelt have no trees because of center. The only crop that can grow there is ulunsonga. Those of us who grew up there and have respiratory illnesses should bring a class action on the state (for ZCCM) and KCM.

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