Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) continues to pollute in Chingola, according to Foil Vedanta, a “grassroots solidarity group”. In 2014, the group argued that KCM’s owner, Vedanta Resources, was concealing the fact that KCM was making considerable profit in Zambia to justify casualisation of workers and environmental damage. The group has now released an article of its latest findings (http://www.foilvedanta.org/tag/vedanta) based on a follow-up visit in October 2015. The group accused KCM of “sheer disregard for life in Zambia”.
Foil Vedanta found the following sources of water pollution (it intends to produce a separate article on air pollution):
- Acidic material spilling over the raffinate tanks after the Tailings Leach Plant (TLP), flowing into Chingola Stream and onwards into Mushishima Stream and then the River Kafue. Appropriately placed pollution control mechanisms such as an pH detector and stocks of lime not present.
- Further downstream acidic waste and mica-rich sludges (largely from the refining of the Chingola Refractory Ores – old mining dumps which are being re-processed) are released into the Chingola Stream from the Reclamation Plant and Tailings Dam 2.
- At the concentrator an open drain takes toxic effluent into the Nchanga Stream, which is further polluted with water from Nchanga open pit mine dumps. Nchanga Stream joins the Kafue River just downstream of the water pumps used by the municipal water company Mulonga Water and Sewerage to provide 22,000 connections in Chingola.
- Kamuchanga, Fikolongo and Fitobaula Villages, more than 20 kilometres downstream from the source of pollution, are also affected. Kamuchanga Headman Chapabuku Mpundu’s borehole, which is situated about one kilometre from the river, has recently been declared unsafe to drink, but there are no other water sources. He talks of health problems and crops not growing.