Chief Mumena of the Kaonde people in North-Western Province has rejected a proposed project by Kansanshi Mining PLC to set up a solar plant in his chiefdom.
This is after the First Quantum Minerals Limited (FQM) mine in 2013, acquired 1 000 hectares of land in the Kipemba area and put it on the title to develop a mini city by building housing units, a shopping mall, a modern hospital and a university among other infrastructure.
However, FQM has failed to implement the earlier project and wants to change the land use by utilizing part of it to set up a solar plant.
AND Chief Mumena has rejected the new project, saying the mine should first fulfil its earlier obligation to the people before they can make any development on the land.
The traditional leader says prior to acquiring the land, FQM promised to build five staff houses, a 1 by 3 classroom block, 70 houses for the affected people, a clinic, sink boreholes and work on the road network among other pledges which the mining giant h
s failure to fulfil.
Speaking during a public consultation meeting on the proposed project at Kipemba Primary School, Chief Mumena said as much as FQM wants the support of the people on the project and has the right to change the use of the land; the mining giant should fulfil what was contained in the agreement.
And Kansanshi Mining Company environmental superintendent, Bright Mwewa who led the team from the mine appealed to people to give the consultant time to complete the feasibility study.
Mr Mwewa said FQM projects are demand-driven and the mining firm has decided to set up a solar plant instead of the initial project to meet its increasing demand for power to sustain operations.
The 430-megawatt project is expected to consist of a 230 solar photovoltaic plant to supply power to FQM’s operations at the Kansanshi mine.