Government is yet to approve the relocation of 38 graves to pave way for mining operations at the US$2billion First Quantum Minerals (FQM) Sentinel Mine project in Solwezi district.
Kalumbila Minerals Limited Spokesperson Miriam Harmon disclosed that government has not granted the mining conglomerate authority to proceed to exhume and relocate graves found on the mine area.
Nearly 500 graves were discovered on the mine area and after verifications 38 graves require exhumation, 181 need cover-over and the remaining 355 graves are not affected even though they are located within the mine area.
Ms Harmon said the unaffected graves will be fenced off and measures will be put in place to allow affected family members access to the graves.
Ms Harmon explained in a media statement released to ZANIS in Lusaka yesterday that government is yet to issue a permit as required by the Public Health Act to exhume or cover –over graves.
She pointed out that even though Kalumbila Mine wholly owned by FQM is not legally compelled to compensate the families, the company will pay affected families K6, 000 for each grave relocated.
She further said that Kalumbila will also meet exhumation, reburial, transport and other logistical costs including traditional blankets, coffins and tombstones.
The Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) approved the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) with emphasis for a humane and compassionate settlement of graves affected by the developmental activities at the Sentinel mine.