NKANA Water and Sewerage Company (NWSC) says Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has taken necessary measures to control pollution which resulted in the closure of two water treatment plants in Kitwe and Kalulushi.
The country’s largest integrated copper producer was recently given a three-week ultimatum by Local Government and Housing Minister Emerine Kabanshi to control pollution from its Muntimpa Tailings Dam.
This followed the pollution of NWSC’s Mwambashi Dam raw water intake in Kalulushi and the Mwambashi Water Treatment Plant in Kitwe’s Garnertone Township.
But in an interview during the week, NWSC spokesperson Damaseke Chibale said the two water treatment plants which were closed would be opened before the onset of the rains.
“KCM has made tremendous progress under the supervision of the NWSC and very soon we will be pumping water from Kalulushi,” Mr Damaseke said.
“Even now it is not a crisis because we are still pumping water from Bulangililo although it is on a short-term basis and we are very sure that before we go deep into the rainy season, everything will be fine.”
He said that the mining giant had managed to control the leakage from its tailings dam and a team from all stakeholders was satisfied with the measures that had been taken.
Apart from the closure of the two water plants, Kafue River is said to be at risk of being polluted by KCM due to spillage of suspended solids and sulphate from the company’s Muntimpa tailings dam.
Muntimpa stream hosts KCM’s tailings dam where the mining giant discharges its effluent from the tailings leach plant and pours into Mwambashi River which subsequently flows into Kafue River.
According to investigations by the Sunday Times, the level of sulphate in Kafue River on the Copperbelt has continued to increase in the recent past due to increased pollution from the mining giant.
The closure of the Mwambashi Dam came barely one month after the Government in collaboration with the African Development Bank (ADB) rehabilitated the facility at a huge cost.
Ms Kabanshi recently reminded the mining company, that preventing pollution was a mandatory obligation under the laws of Zambia and other international instruments.