Environmental agency responds to charges by First Quantum

For Immediate Release


In May, 2013, Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) issued an Environmental Protection Order pursuant to Section 104 of the Environmental Management Act (EMA) No. 12 of 2011 to First Quantum Minerals (FQM) who are the proponents of Kalumbila Minerals Limited in order to stop the illegal action by Kalumbila to construct the Chisola dam. Kalumbila Minerals Limited had commenced construction of the Chisola dam without the necessary approvals from the Zambia Environmental Management Agency as required by law.

Kalumbila Minerals Limited obtained 50,000ha of land for their project from Chief Musele in Solwezi District and submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the mine which was approved in 2011.

Following approval of the mine, Kalumbila applied to ZEMA for approvals for additional components to their project which included the Chisola dam. However, concerns were raised regarding authorization of such vast amount of land and compensation and resettlement issues of the people in the chiefdom that would be affected by the Kalumbila projects. For this reason, ZEMA suspended the process of decision making of the proposed Chisola dam and associated projects so that the raised concerns can be addressed.

In response to these concerns, His Excellency the President Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata set up an inter-ministerial task force to investigate the allegations. The task force is headed by the Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs and includes the Ministers of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection and Local Government and Housing. This committee, using technical officials in their respective ministerial departments carried out preliminary investigations and found that Kalumbila Minerals Limited had in fact obtained the 50,000ha surface rights irregularly as no Presidential consent had been given as required by law.

The Task force directed that no further approvals were to be issued on Kalumbila projects by any government wing until the surface rights issues were resolved. Consequently ZEMA has been unable to make approvals on any of Kalumbila’s additional projects including the Chisola dam.

As a regulatory agency, ZEMA remains committed to not only complying with legislation and regulations, but also abiding by government processes that contribute to ensuring compliance to these regulations. The resolution of the surface rights area by government will form the basis of the ZEMA’s decision making process as regards Chisola Dam.

In line with the above, ZEMA will remain committed to preventing and controlling pollution in order to safeguard human health and the environment.

Issued by:
Irene Lungu-Chipili
Principal Information and Communication Officer

20th June, 2013

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