Zambia’s Chambishi Smelter to Reopen, Environment Regulator Says

Chambishi Smelter
Chambishi Smelter

Zambia’s environmental regulator gave a copper smelter owned by China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group Co. approval to restart operations after ordering it stop almost a week ago because of pollution.

Sulfur-dioxide emissions from the Chambishi Copper Smelter, located 310 kilometers (193 miles) north of Lusaka, the capital, may have caused damage to crops in the area, and the plant has since implemented measures to curb these, the Zambia Environmental Management Agency said today in a statement. The regulator told the company to halt the smelter on Feb. 11.

Chambishi must also “adequately compensate all the people whose fields were affected by the emission of sulfur dioxide,” the agency said.

The land-locked country, Africa’s biggest copper producer, has a smelting shortage, which has marooned 60,000 metric tons of concentrate at First Quantum Ltd.’s Kansanshi Mine, the company said Jan. 25. A 10 percent export duty on the concentrates, an unprocessed product of which copper makes up about a quarter, prevents the company from exporting to overseas smelters, according to First Quantum.

Glencore International Plc’s Mopani Copper Mines Plc unit and Vedanta Resources Plc’s Konkola Copper Mines Plc also operate smelters in the country, while First Quantum is building one.

China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group didn’t respond to an e- mail seeking comment. Chambishi Copper Smelter has a capacity of 150,000 tons blister copper capacity, according to the company’s website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Hill in Lusaka at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at [email protected]