FQM, N/West community differ over Trident project

First Quantum Minerals

FIRST Quantum Minerals (FQM)’s Trident Project in Kalumbila area in North-Western Province has been rocked with controversy involving the developers and members of the community over resettlement packages.
Members of the community were also up in arms against FQM management over the decision to go ahead with the construction of the Chisola dam despite the protection order halting further implementation of the project.
The Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) in May this year issued a protection order against further construction of the Chisola dam on grounds that the project had not undergone an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process.
But FQM has since resumed construction of the dam project following advice by Minister of Lands, Environmental and Natural Resources Wylbur Simuusa.
This, however, had angered members of the community who were now accusing the mine developers of being insensitive to the plight of residents.
The residents at an Action Aid led Fair Green Project organised community meeting held on Thursday in Wanyima area, which hosts Trident’s Sentinel Mine, said they wanted the Trident project halted because FQM had allegedly neglected their plight.
Community spokesperson Morris Sankisa said the residents had submitted several concerns among them inadequate resettlement packages and construction of Chisola dam, which was being done without an approved EIA.
Mr Sankisa said in addition to the Chisola dam, which had deprived over 30, 000 households of fertile grazing lands and source of water, FQM had also chosen to construct terrines dam too close to the village and this was posing a health hazard to the community.
“From the look of things, the development of the mine has brought about suffering to the community because of the manner FQM has chosen to implement the project.
“The company in the first place has not given adequate compensation to people earmarked for resettlement and now they are constructing this dam without following procedure,” Mr Sankisa said.
Melody Makayi, a community member also complained that the negative effect of resettlement had had a toll on the lives of the people as most of them had not been able to conduct normal agricultural activities for the past three years following loss of land.
Fair Green Project coordinator Mwiya Mwandawande said the people were in order to demand for a better compensation package because the guiding principles of resettlement demanded that after being resettled, communities should be better than before.