A public disclosure meeting that sought to discuss the draft environmental impact assessment report for the proposed enterprise nickel open pit mine in Solwezi has been postponed after North-western Province Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga raised concern on the stakeholders invited for the meeting.
Mr Malupenga who was called to officiate at the meeting advised Kalumbila mineral environmental management not to proceed with the meeting because the outcome will not be a correct representation of the majority stakeholders in the district.
This was after Mr Malupenga asked how the invitations were done as most residents present were civil servants and a hand full of youths.
He said the nature of the project requires input of key stakeholders in the district in order to avoid problems in the future.
“The project the mine is proposing is huge, and may have serious repercussions that need to be looked at during the disclosure meeting and if this meeting does not involve key stakeholders such as the council of elders, the local chamber of commerce and industry or a cross section of the community, then it would not be an incorrect representation,” Mr Malupenga said.
He noted that the other concern was that if the proceedings go ahead it would be legitimized and taken on as part of the process yet ZEMA has set minimum standards of public disclosure meetings.
And Kalumbila Mine Environmental Manager Joseph Ngwira who was reluctant to postpone the meeting later conceded to the concerns and said he would call for a meeting at a later date.
Mr Ngwira said the company advertised in the print media and placed notices at various locations.
And Solwezi District commissioner Crispin Likando noted that the mine needs to widely publicize the meeting through the local medium as majority of the people concerned cannot afford to buy newspapers.
“We don’t want to experience the problem we went through at the start of Kalumbila, you are aware of the challenges the mine is facing with the people, so to avoid a repetition let’s take precautions now” Mr Likando explained.
The Enterprise Nickel project is second phase of the Trident project of First Quantum Minerals long term investment plan to extend its operations in the country.
The mine has invested 1.8 Million dollars in the development of the Sentinel copper project which will be commissioner in July this year while the third phase will see the development of the Intrepid copper deposit.
additionally, Kalumbila minerals intends to open the nickel mine and currently the company is developing the Sentinel copper deposit by open pit mining, a copper concentrate plant and associated infrastructure is also scheduled for commissioning this July.
The Enterprise, nickel project, will include the development of a single open pit mine, a single waste rock dump to the north of the pit, service corridors which shall include ore haulage road from the enterprise to Sentinel and a power line.
Other facilities will be a workshop, fuel shop to service the mining fleet, two sediment control dams downstream of the pit and waste rock dumps, diversion channel for Chisola Dam.
The total project footprint is expected to be on the 540 hectares of land located within the Trident Mining rights area.
ZEMA approved the terms of reference for the draft environmental impact assessment on February 7, 2014.
The meeting which was called by Kalumbila Minerals limited, a subsidiary of First Quantum Minerals is a pre requirement by the Zambia environment management agency (ZEMA) before it can approve the project.