THE Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has approved the proposed construction of a US$640 million smelter at Kansanshi Mining in Solwezi, along with 48 other large scale projects around the country.
Apart from mining other projects are in agriculture, energy, manufacturing, urban development, communication and transport sectors.
Kansanshi, which is owned by First Quantum Minerals (FQM) of Canada, plans to construct the smelter which will have a capacity to process 300,000 tonnes of copper per year when fully-fledged.
ZEMA principal information and communication officer Irene Lungu-Chipili said in Lusaka yesterday that the 49 projects, including the Kansanshi smelter, were approved last month.
Kansanshi applied for environmental approval for the smelter in July this year.
The operations of the smelter will involve melting copper concentrate to produce blister copper as a product and granulated slag as waste.The project has a projected lifespan of over 20 years and the developer anticipates engaging a workforce of 800 during operation stage.
Of the other 48 approved projects 20 are under the prospecting and mining, eight in energy, four in manufacturing, two in urban development, two others in agriculture and four in transport and communication while the remaining other two are miscellaneous.
Apart from the Kansanshi smelter the other three in processing and manufacturing include a metal fabrication and rubber lining plant in Chingola by Industrial Linings Zambia, lime manufacturing plant in Senior Chief Chiwala's area in Masaiti by Astrea Investments and a stockfeed manufacturing plant in the light industrial area of Lusaka by Tranter Zambia.
Ms Lungu-Chipili said all the projects were approved and had a three-year timeline for implementation.
The agency's decision can be withdrawn without notice should a developer fail to comply with laid down conditions and commitments.
"ZEMA also wishes to remind all industries of their corporate social responsibility of ensuring that environmental and social concerns are fully incorporated into their overall operational regimes.
"This is one way the private sector can contribute to achieving Government's vision of sustaining economic growth through good environmental governance," she said.