By By Gift Chanda
Tue 15 Feb. 2011, 03:59 CAT
KONKOLA Copper Mines says it is planning to spend US$50 million to upgrade its Nchanga unit so as to make it environmentally compliant.
Company spokesperson and manager for corporate affairs Jacqueline Kabeta said Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) had stepped up plans to fulfil its current and future commitment to minimising environmental impact at all its operations on the Copperbelt.
"KCM will spend US$50 million for projects relating to the environmental management plan being implemented at Nchanga mine which is not yet ISO certified to make it environmentally compliant," she said. "The pre-assessment audit for Nchanga will take place in June this year and the actual assessment will take place in December."
KCM is notoriously known for polluting the Kafue river which is a source of domestic water for Copperbelt residents.
The recent incident occurred last month when contaminated waste from the mining company leaked into the river.
Kabeta said unlike the Nchanga unit, four of KCM's other units which include the Nkana Refinery in Kitwe, Nchanga Smelter in Chingola, Nampundwe Mine in Lusaka west and Konkola Mine in Chililabombwe have retained the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Certification under the international Environmental Management System Certification process.
The Nchanga unit processes 311,000 tonnes of copper per year.
“Assessments were carried out by BSI Management Systems of UK who audited the implementation of the EMS throughout the company. The auditors urged KCM to continuously provide a systematic framework for the company to identify the environmental impact of its activities to enable the company continuously improve its performance,” said Kabeta.