An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) study to upgrade Kampumba and Kabanga manganese mines to large scale mines in Kapiri Mposhi district has been concluded.

The study was conducted to upgrade the two mines to large scale which have been operating for over ten years now as small scale mines.

This is in line with the current Mines and Minerals Development Act Regulations of 2015 requiring all small scale mines in the country above 400 hectares to convert to large scale mines.

SANHE Mining Investment Company Limited the owner of the two mines was compelled to apply for conversion of their mining license to upgrade the two mines seating on 540 and 420 hectares from small to large scale mines.

This came to light during an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) disclosure meeting for the proposed development of large scale manganese mines in the two areas.

The Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) engaged Greenline Environmental Solutions to conduct an independent assessment of the impending impact of large scale mining activities in the area.

During the meeting attended by various stakeholders including the local traditional leadership and line government ministries, Greenline Environmental Solutions Director, Mubanga Mwansa said ESIA study had taken into account the plight of inhabitants of the area and recommended mitigation measures such as progressive rehabilitation of the environment as a result of mining activities.

Mr Mubanga said the ESIA study and findings will be submitted to ZEMA for consideration in line with provisions of the Environmental Management Act No. 12 of 2011 as part of the EIA regulation requirement.

“The conversion from small scale to large scale was not necessitated by the investor (SANHE), this came from the new regulations under the Mines and Mineral Development Act that for any mining activity to qualify to be small scale it must be below 400 hectares therefore any mine seating on more than 400 hectares should be reclassified and converted to large scale,” Mr Mwansa said.

He said the study would also compel the investor to adequately compensate all the people who would be displaced from the mine license areas as a result of the mining activities.

SANHE has advanced five million United States Dollars in the large scale manganese mining investment on the two mines.

SANHE Mining General Manager, Lily Tan said the conversion to large scale mining would see raised manganese production of up to 3000 tonnes per month at Kampumba mine, which has a 30-year mining lifespan.

Ms Tan said the two mines will provide more than 200 direct jobs to the locals.

“We will be committed to commitments towards implementing these recommendations to ensure safety and wellbeing of the local inhabitants found in the mine license,” Ms Tan said.

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