ZEMA approves China Copper Mines’ leach plant project

CHINESE-OWNED China Copper Mines Limited has won Zambian approval to build a US $100 million (about KR530 million) copper leach plant on the Copperbelt.

The Zambia Environmental management agency (ZEMA), whose approval is required for all large infrastructure projects, said yesterday that it had allowed China Copper Mines Ltd to proceed with its copper project in Fitula area about 12 kilometres South West of Chingola town on the Copperbelt.

“The project will involve the development of the Fitula open copper pits on the Copperbelt Province, to produce copper cathode from around five mineral waste dumps,” Chama Mwansa, ZEMA communication officer said yesterday.

The project will leach 600,000 tonnes of ore material to produce about 3,000 to 5,000 tonnes of electro-won copper per annum and about 500 permanent jobs are expected to be created by the proposed project, added Mwansa.

She said China Copper Mines Limited would, however, need to undertake a study to establish the presence and availability of aquatic life in Fitula stream and other water bodies surrounding the project area and assess the significance of the project impacts on aquatic life during the life of the project.

“They shall also undertake an air quality study so as to establish ambient air quality in Fitula-Mimbula area and assess the significance of the air pollution during the life of the project,” said Mwansa.

“Apart from that China Copper Mines shall undertake a groundwater study so as to establish ground water occurrence, fractured zones and flow paths and assess the significance of the groundwater pollution during and after the life of the project. The report shall be submitted to ZEMA prior to project implementation.”

China Copper Mines Limited is a private company, registered in Zambia, owned by Chinese shareholders, and is not publicly listed. The Fitula project will be its first undertaking in the country.

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