China Copper Mines Limited has won the go ahead to build a US$100 million (KR530m) copper leach plant on the Copperbelt. The Zambia Environmental management agency (ZEMA), says it has allowed China Copper Mines Ltd to proceed with its copper project in Fitula area about 12 kilometres South West of Chingola town on the Copperbelt.
The project will involve the development of the Fitula open copper pits to produce copper cathode from around five mineral waste dumps. It will leach 600,000 tonnes of ore material to produce about 3,000 to 5,000 tonnes of electrowon copper per annum and about 500 permanent jobs are expected to be created by the proposed project.
As part of the approval China Copper Mines Limited would need to undertake a study to establish the presence and availability of aquatic life in Fitula stream and other water bodies surrounding the project area and assess the significance of the project impacts on aquatic life during the life of the project.
China Copper Mines Limited is a private company, registered in Zambia, owned by Chinese shareholders, and is not publicly listed. The Fitula project will be its first undertaking in the country.
This project has been proposed for a while. It appears to have been carefully evaluated by ZEMA. In the past ZEMA merely rubber stamped political decisions, but now they seem to be doing the job properly.
According to the Environmental Statement (EIA), part of the challenges of this project is that it will cause involuntary resettlement of one household and a church building and there may be some indirect loss of income to some Chingola communities. The company has resolved through the Compensation Resettlement Plan (CRP) to give the affected parties an amount of K100 million for them to construct buildings at the area of their choice. The 200 informal miners who were earning their living on the area also get compensation packages.