Simuusa directs Chinese firm to compensate ZAFFICO before starting mine operations*
December 22, 2011
MINISTER of Mines and Natural Resources Wilbur Simuusa has directed Zhongui Mining Group Limited to conduct an environmental impact assessment (EIA) and compensate the Zambia Forestry and Forests Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO) *for invading its land before the Chinese mine starts operating.*
The mining group is the owner of the US$690 million Ichimpe Copper and Cobalt mining project in Kalulushi.
In an interview on Tuesday, Mr Simuusa said the matter is being resolved and that he has directed ZAFFICO and the Forestry department to evaluate the liabilities involved.
*The MMD Government under former President Rupiah Banda allowed Zhongui Mining Group Limited to start the construction of the Ichimpe Copper and Cobalt Mine without conducting an EIA and on ZAFFICO land.*
“I have insisted that the mine owners should conduct an EIA. We will not allow them to start operating without an EIA which is approved and without looking at issues of compensating ZAFFICO,” Mr Simuusa said.
Mr Simuusa hopes that the issue will soon be resolved because the Patriotic Front (PF) government is in a hurry to create jobs for Zambians.
The Ichimpe Copper and Cobalt Mine is expected to create 1,700 jobs at the construction stage and more than 2,000 once the mine is opened in 2014.
Ichimpe Copper and Cobalt Mine is expected to produce 35,000 tonnes of copper and 2,000 tonnes of cobalt per annum.
During the groundbreaking ceremony on May 18 this year, former President Banda said: “I have observed that this mine is being developed on a piece of land whose surface rights are held by ZAFFICO. I am advised that ZAFFICO had just planted its second generation of trees and therefore it is a productive plantation.”
[Zambia Daily Mail]