The Zambia Environmental Management Agency has issued two separate Compliance and Environmental Restoration Orders to Konkola Copper Mines to address various environmental issues by end of this month.
And documents obtained from KCM’s Legal Department show that the mining giant has been emitting sulphur dioxide and cadmium which are 10.3 times and 13.41 times above statutory limits respectively.
According to leaked copies of the orders, ZEMA now wants KCM to take measures to reduce or eliminate the risk on human health and the environment.
In 2015 an eight year long legal battle by 2000 contaminated residents finally ended when the Supreme Court of Zambia confirmed the High Court’s opinion that KCM was guilty of ‘gross recklessness’ and damaging villagers’ health. However, the $2 million in damages earlier awarded by the High Court was removed, leaving the residents short of real justice. Subsequently London law firms filed for damages from Vedanta Resources on behalf of approximately 3000 of the contaminated villagers, and the shocking story of years of pollution has reached the Guardian and BBC
In its Environmental Restoration Order dated 3rd March 2017, ZEMA has ordered KCM to complete the water recycling project at the Mutimpa Tailings Dam to prevent the continuation of or cause of water pollution especially with high levels of sulphates in the affluent by the 31st Marcy 2017.
The agency has also ordered KCM to cease the discharge of affluent from Mutimpa Tailings Dam containing regulated parameters that are above the respective statutory limits by 31st Marcy 2017.
It has also ordered KCM to submit to a detailed plan of work for de-silting of the Chingola stream, Mushishima stream and Mutimpa Stream highlighting in particular the de-silting process and the management of the generated silt/waste by 15th March 2017.
ZEMA further wants KCM to restore the flow channels of the three streams namely, Chingola Stream, Mushishima Stream and Muntimpa Stream by de-silting their stream beds by 30th April 2017.
The agency has also ordered KCM to develop and implement a programme for continuous de-silting of the three streams and the Pollution Control Dam to prevent their continuation of cause of water pollution by 15th March 207.
It also wants the mining giant to conduct the Environmental Impact Assessment of Chingola Stream, Mushishima Stream and Hippo Pool by the 31st day of May 2017.
And according to the Compliance Order dated 1st March 2017, ZEMA has ordered KCM to comply in full with the conditions of the Emission Licence number “NDL/EMM/00708/Z10/2014”.
The agency has now ordered KCM to immediately ensure that the effluent and emission parameters are compliant with their respective statutory limits especially sulphur dioxide and cadmium emissions which were 10.3 times and 13.41 times above statutory limits respectively as the time of the returns for July to December 2016.
It also wants ZEMA to immediately cease discharging the Pregnant Liquor Solution and the pollution Control Dam.
ZEMA has also ordered KCM to install online monitoring equipment to monitor all regulated parameters and procure and install a monitoring equipment for mercury with a detention limit lower than the statutory limit of 0.002 mg/1 by 30th April 2017.
The environmental agency also wants KCM to develop a continuous programme of de-silting of the Mushishima Stream and submit to the Agency by the 15th March 2017.
It also wants the Chingola based firm to conduct investigations on why the ground water quality were non-compliant for pH, Manganese, TSS and Co and submit the report to ZEMA by 31st March 2017 and develop a programme to clean up the ground water contamination and submit the programme to ZEMA by 15th March 2017.