Green Party leader Peter Sinkamba
Green Party leader Peter Sinkamba

GREEN Party president Peter Sinkamba has urged Zambians not to demonise Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) over their motive to important copper concentrate containing arsenic because the country already has traces of the toxic chemical element.

Arsenic is a toxic chemical element that causes cancer if exposed to humans in uncontrolled quantities.
Mr Sinkamba who is also Citizens for Better Environment (CBE) executive director said what was critical for now was to put in place measures that would ensure that migration of the arsenic into the water systems is regulated.

Commenting on the raging debate over KCM motive to import copper concentrates from Chile that has levels of arsenic, he said the toxic chemical element has always existed in the country and such did not warrant the kind of debate it had currently generated.

Mr Sinkamba said in an interview in Kitwe yesterday that arsenic was not only found in Chile but in many countries Zambia inclusive.

“Arsenic occurs naturally in the environment and the various ores that we mine have arsenic including some tubers such as Cassava from the study we conducted we found they contain high levels of arsenic even local copper.

“So what is important is to put in place measures that will ensure that migration of that arsenic to the water systems is not high and to us, this is what is important when discussing importation of concentrates from Chile by KCM,” Mr Sinkamba said.

He wondered why there was no talk when the nation imported concentrates from Congo which also contained levels of arsenic and Uranium which is even more hazardous.

Mr Sinkamba was sure that the various mining operations including KCM had put in place system to control impact of toxic chemical elements such as arsenic from causing harm to both the environment and human life.

He said instead of demonizing KCM over the motive to important concentrate, stakeholders should give the mining firm credit because the move was a right step towards value addition which the nation desperately required.

“We need to start adding value and if we can import concentrate which is cheap from Chile, that is the best way to go,” he said.

He said there was need to understand that copper at the moment had become expensive to mine in the country and this was making smelters to operate below their full potential.

By importing concentrate from Chile, this will help smelting operations currently in the range between 40 to 50 per cent would be scaled up and this would ensure increased revenue for the mines translating into profit.

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21 COMMENTS

    • I would rather Zambians enjoyed excellent heath as apposed to have more money and return it via cancer medications in foreign countries that have just bought the copper.

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    • With the PF at the helm of brokenness, wondering if they can follow and support those measures.

      Already KCM has contaminated and polluted the rivers and communities in the country. Let alone import toxic chemicals from Chile is rhetoric to the view of Agriculture.
      Please Mr. Sinkamba, don’t make our communities as dumping ground of toxins.

      Importing toxins!

      The Skeleton Key
      ~206~

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    • Nothing that ever comes out of this guy makes sense. Does he not understand that toxic levels in those imports are abnormally high. Why can’t KCM order the copper from Congo or other African countries? This ***** wants people to suffer more than they are currently. Who will provide from their medicals with these crooks in power

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    • The media plays a critical role to governance and I think LT and all other media should ban this man from making anymore comments or not even provide him media space. He does not make sense and provides the most useless national contributions. Does he not understand that one mistake from these imports can cause 5,000 death or even more given that the rivers would be intoxicated. The best is for KCM to pre-process the copper in Chile and bring in only imports with least amounts of toxic impurities. KCM is known to be a careless and ruthless company that will kill people for money. We should not allow it to go with such regards of the guarantees. Let them only bring in non-toxic materials; no negotiations.

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    • SKELETON -The contamination started long before even MMD came to power. You must know this unless you have been leaving outside Zambia all this time. For your information KCM has no readily available resources at most of their shafts so assist with solutions instead of blaming PF for everything.

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    • ba Ndobo , mweba Dobo nimwebo, just listen and understand what His excellence is saying, not ukulalandalanda fye. if too technical, ask somebody near who knows these these things. gatawishibe ninshi tawishibe, ngatawaishiba ukuloa, nishi tawashiba, mwazimuka tee? mwilafuma mu chalo ba guy. data kwipusha…nga tamugebelepo, kusampauka nga mulefwaya, mwaikata

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    • No Bandobo, He hasn’t smoked this time around. Its true the copper concentrate from Chile is contaminated with impurities among them is arsenic. Its alleged to be 3.5mg/cm3. Our regulations allows arsenic of 0.5mg/cm3 in air emissions and 0.05mg/cm3 in water. Therefore, emitting high arsenic into the atmosphere can cause cancer its carcinogenic. What KCM needs to remove the impurities in chile and bring uncontaminated copper concentrate. But this should be enforced by ZEMA our lame duck.

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    • He has explained that the ones from DRC had more arsenic and on top of that high levels of uranium(radio active material).
      Fyonse kutalika kanshi?

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  1. Edgar Lungu should consider quitting the presidency. He is too sick for the job. He went to India for 4 days to receive medical attention.

    Peter Sinkamba, you are right, Arsenic is a toxic chemical element that causes cancer if exposed tom humans in uncontrolled quantities.

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  2. It is shocking that the leader of a party and an NGO ostensibly about protecting the environment is in the forefront defending KCM on the issue.
    It is obvious Green Party and CBU are gimmicks and vehicles for making money.

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  3. Let Chile smelt the concentrate at Tsumeb smelter in Namibia. They have the facility there to recover the arsenic and make insecticide.
    In mid-1992, Luanshya smelter imported high-arsenic concentrate from Ertsberg (now Grasberg) in Indonesia and had endless problems.

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  4. The media plays a critical role to governance and I think LT and all other media should ban this man from making anymore comments or not even provide him media space. He does not make sense and provides the most useless national contributions. Does he not understand that one mistake from these imports can cause 5,000 death or even more given that the rivers would be intoxicated. The best is for KCM to pre-process the copper in Chile and bring in only imports with least amounts of toxic impurities. KCM is known to be a careless and ruthless company that will kill people for money. We should not allow it to go with such regards of the guarantees. Let them only bring in non-toxic materials; no negotiations.

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  5. 1992 was a nightmare for us in Luanshya with that high-arsenic concentrate from Iran Jaya in Indonesia. Numerous problems surfaced, of note were:
    1) Several inversions (more than normal copper-belt concentrates). This brought gases back down to earth. In the process, vegetation was killed in the low-density township. I remember the golf course looking scorched, and
    2) The Imperial College trained smelter superintendent died in September that year during the processing of the concentrate. The inspector of mines (Mr Kambaila) was adamant that arsenic was the cause. He direct that tissue sample from the deceased be sent to South Africa for analysis. Luckily, the tests revealed death by natural cause.

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    • …Not forgetting reports of some aquatic life being disturbed in the nearby Lunshya river and other surrounding streams (Nkulumashiba, e.t.c.).

      I was involved in testing for Arsenic in these concentrates as a young Chemist. The analytical method involved arsine-generation, followed by uv detection of a red-violet silver diethyldithiocarbamate-arsine complex. Sample preparation involved using pyridine.

      After protesting to my boss at that time (MPH) about the use of pyridine and prolonged handling of arsenic materials, I was told a professional is supposed to put their neck on the line to do their job, even if it means losing your fertility! I wasn’t married then.

      (I have been married for twenty years now with four lovely and very normal kids…)

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  6. Peter Sinkamba is a fool! His party is green party for a clean environment and if this ***** knew that Zambia has traces of Arsenic, he should have taken that one as his cause instead of just promoting ichamba!

    He has chewed some money from KCM no wonder he has been quite over their pollution!

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  7. We need actual figures of the levels of Arsenic in this concentrate. Arsenic is a naturally occurring element, like many others. Yes it is toxic but what levels (in figures) are we talking about?.

    If we just follow reports from the Post, whose aim is undoubtedly spread of confusion and distortion of facts, we are bound to be in trouble.

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  8. Mwebanensu what the story fails to tell me is why does Zambia have to import these concentrates? The reporter doesnt give us background or further information on top of what the Green Party leader has said.

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  9. This guy was my classmate. He was doing mining engineering course at ZIT now CBU. H e did not finish his course. He was expelled from College in 1986 because of this same behaviour. I do not know why Zambians take him serious. He led to a number of his fellow Union leaders lose on School. He was a publicity secretary of ZIT student union. The college was closed from July 1986 to January 1987. Now he wants to play with the lives of Zambias by defending pollution. If you want money from the Indians for your party do not sell off Zambians. You are just a trouble maker. Let professionals handle such sensitive issues not iwe Peter. Iwe sure! Do you know Chingola and the way pollution occurs when TLP and Concentrator fail to handle it? Do not politicise the lives of Citizens Peter.

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  10. Oh, let’s just dump it in your backyard then.

    I found an Arsenic Recipe Book online for housewives who want to improve the rate of…….deterioration in their husbands lives.

    We’ll send her a copy, since you love the stuff so much!

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