African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

Zambia gets tough on multinational companies

Posted by African Press International on October 9, 2007

wilfred-photo.jpg<By our correspondent Wilfred Zulu

API*APN in Lusaka–Zambia is getting tough on multinational companies mining copper in the country and has set up a development fund meant to make them more considerate and accountable of the environment they are working in. Mines and Minerals resources Minister Kalombo Mwansa regretted that despite the huge profits that foreign copper mining firms were making, none of them is seriously ploughing back into the community despite the pollution that some of them cause to the local environment.

As Government, we have decided to set up a local development area fund which mining firms will be compelled to channel a percentage of their profits towards local area development activities. We do not mean to punish them but to make them more cautious of the environment around them, said Mwansa.

He told API*APN: the percentage requirement towards this fund will be somewhere around one to two percent of their profits, annually.

The fund will also be used to upgrading and cleaning up areas where the mines were operating from. Among them is Kabwe town, which according to the Blacksmith Institute, is among the worlds 10 most polluted places.

Mining activities of lead and zinc between 1902 and 1994 were done in the town without addressing the potential dangers of lead contamination. The mine and smelter are no longer operating but have left a town poisoned by devastating concentrations of lead dust in the soil and by metals in the water.

And last year, the largest mine in the country, Konkola discharged poisonous effluence into Zambezi River, the countrys largest river, killing fish and further resulting in a shortage of water in three mining towns of the country.

Industrialisation begins from the mining sector, hence as Government we will ensure that resources from the mines are effectively used to develop the country and at the same time make the country environmentally friendly, said Mwansa.

Published by API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel +4793299739 or +4763002525

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