The Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has ordered Chambishi Copper Smelter (CCS) to shut down its plant in Chambishi for allegedly polluting the environment.
CCS deputy chief executive oficer Yu Zhontkia confirmed yesterday that ZEMA had ordered the company to shut down its plant on Monday following complaints from farmers in Kalulushi and surrounding areas.
Mr Yu said the company had complied with ZEMA and that more than 1,500 workers had been affected by the shutdown.
The firm would await a final decision from ZEMA after attending to concerns raised.
ZEMA Northern region manager Patson Zulu said the agency ordered CCS to shut down its plant and put in place remedial measures to minimise emission of sulphur dioxide which was affecting the farming community.
The action was taken following complaints by farmers that the sulphur dioxide emissions were destroying their crops.
"I can confirm that ZEMA has ordered CCS to shut down its plant in order to put in place certain measures that will prevent emissions from the smelter from polluting the environment," he said.
He said ZEMA officials conducted an inspection at CCS yesterday to check on the measures the firm had put in place to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions.
Meanwhile, Citizens for Better Environment (CBE) has sued CCS for allegedly polluting the Luela Farming Community with Sulphur dioxide.
In a statement of claim in the Kitwe High Court, CBE stated that CCS operated a smelter plant which processes and smelts copper and other metals, thereby discharging sulphur dioxide and other gaseous emissions.
CBE is seeking a declaration that the farmers of Luela Community had a right to a safe and healthy environment.
The organisation is also demanding for an order for damages for the alleged nuisance.