THE Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) and Horizon Mining Ltd have formed a consortium to conduct reclamation and processing of tailings dumps (TD) in Kitwe at an investment of US$75 million.
And officials from Misenge Environmental and Technical Services, a subsidiary of ZCCM-IH who are the consultants for the project, were yesterday made to sweat for their money in convincing members of the public why the project should go ahead.
The proposed project came to light yesterday during a public stakeholders' scoping meeting for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) held at ZCCM-IH offices in Kitwe.
Misenge Environmental and Technical Services environmental specialist Cyril Lukeke said the involved tailings were those at TD25 in Nkana East behind the High Court and TD26 as well as TD27, located between Nkana East and Natwange residential area.
Mr Lukeke said the project, involves the construction of a plant proposed to be situated around TD26 and TD27 where the tailings would be processed into copper concentrate.
"This project is going to free 221 hectares of land hosting the tailing dumps for development in Kitwe," Mr Lukeke said.
He said the project once approved, would be implemented in three phases, with the initial phase involved in the reclamation of TD25 consisting of 27 million tones of tailings before moving to phase two and three for TD26 and TD27 hosting 8.1 million tonnes and 21 million tonnes respectively.
Mr Lukeke said the project when approved was expected to be commissioned in 2015 and would have a life span of 14 years.
"The project, apart from freeing 221 hectares of land would boost business environment development in Kitwe and Zambia for the local suppliers of goods and services as well as create employment for over 100 people who would work in the plant," he said.
Misenge Environmental and Technical Services chief executive officer Joseph Makumba who is also project manager said the scoping meeting was the initial stage of the project and its implementation was dependent on the views of stakeholders who included the community of Kitwe.
Meanwhile, there was a lot of misgivings on the project by members of the public who expressed concern about the safety of the lives during the reclamation and processing of the tailings.
Former Kitwe Town Clerk Ali Simwinga wondered why the consultants were asking the public to give views before people were made aware on the dangers involved in reclamation of the tailings.
Mr Simwinga said a Copperbelt Environmental report conducted by ZCCM-IH already had pros and cons on the exercise for reclamation and processing of the tailings and yet the consultants had chosen not to disclose its contents.