Friday, April 06, 2007

KCM to sink boreholes for pollution victims

KCM to sink boreholes for pollution victims
By Speedwell Mupuchi
Friday April 06, 2007 [04:00]

KONKOLA Copper Mines will this month sink 12 boreholes for communities living along Mushishima Stream and Hippo Pool areas as a mitigation measure following its pollution of the Kafue River. KCM spokesperson Samuel Equamo said the mining company was in the process of selecting the winning bids following a successful bidding process. He said it was expected the process of sinking the boreholes would be put in motion within this month.

Equamo was responding to sentiments by Nchanga Patriotic Front member of parliament Charles Chimumbwa’s complaints at the delay by KCM to fulfill its commitment to the project. “KCM is fully committed to this project and we shall keep our honourable member of parliament fully informed,” Equamo said. Chimumbwa complained that KCM had disappointed him over the project, which was supposed to be implemented within two months after polluting the Mushishima and Kafue rivers last November.

He said after KCM polluted the Kafue River, he suggested that boreholes be drilled.
Chimumbwa said KCM agreed to drill boreholes in two months. “Following that, KCM wrote a letter to ECZ (Environmental Council of Zambia) pleading not to be taken to court and assured government of the measures they would put in place. They said if we don’t do the boreholes, you can go ahead to prosecute us,” Chimumbwa said. “They are now fooling the communities and the government, no single borehole has been sunk.”

Chimumbwa said he helped water-down impending action by residents and mine workers who were agitating to rise against KCM. “Miners wanted to strike but we defended them. Now I am very disappointed,” he said. He also said he was not compromised over the KCM pollution saga. Chimumbwa said his company, Mofu Industrial Distributors, had not supplied KCM since 2002 so he could not be compromised. “I was merely looking at the broader picture, vis-à-vis benefits to the community against a one off reward for the pollution,” Chimumbwa said.

He said in 1984 under Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) there was pollution of Mushishima Stream and several cattle from the mine farm died. “That’s how the mine decided to construct a Pollution Control Dam to trap the acid before it gets to Mushishima Stream and consequently to Kafue River,” Chimumbwa explained. “The dam which was originally planned for two years got filled up within six months. That’s where the problem of pollution started and the mines started throwing lime in the dam to neutralise the acid,” he said. Chimumbwa said ZCCM left the problem and that the ECZ too did not care to brief KCM on what to do hence the pollution last November.

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