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Zambia shuts Mopani Copper plant on pollution violations

Published by MAC on 2012-03-14
Source: Reuters

Shortly after a Zambian campaigning organisation said it would sue Glencore for pollution at the Mopani copper leaching plant, the government has closed it down.

The world's largest metals trader now has to submit a comprehensive social and environmental management plan, before it can re-open the operation. See: Glencore faces legal action over pollution caused by Zambian copper

Zambia shuts Mopani Copper leach plant on pollution violations


5 March 2012

LUSAKA - Zambia has closed a copper treatment plant belonging to Glencore International's Mopani Copper Mines for pollution violations, the state environmental agency said on Monday.

Mopani Copper Mines said in a statement it was surprised at the action by the environmental agency and may be forced to lay off staff following the closure.

"Every day of suspension is costing the company in the region of 525 million kwacha and unfortunately calls into question whether Mopani can continue to support 310 jobs created by the heap leach project," it said.

Zambia environmental management agency spokeswoman Chama Mwansa told Reuters Mopani was ordered to shut down its Mufulira heap leaching plant on Thursday due to excessive emissions of the pollutant acid mist.

The agency's inspection of the plant revealed that there was no acid mist or vapour barrier to minimise effects on more than 3,000 local residents, Mwansa said.

"Statistics show an increase in the number of cases of pulmonary, throat, nose and ear ailments," she said.

Mopani would only be allowed to open the plant after it erected acid mist barriers and effective equipment to control the pollution, she said.

The agency also ordered Mopani to prepare a comprehensive environmental and social management plan for the heap leaching process and submit it for approval, Mwansa said.

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