Zambia’s largest copper mining operation, Konkola Copper Mines says it will not process the 5,000 tonnes of copper concentrate it imported from Chile until all parties are satisfied that there will be no adverse impact.
In a statement, KCM said it imported the concentrate because it is important for KCM to operate its smelter as close to design capacity as possible, in order to achieve maximum efficiency.
It said the design criteria of KCM’s Nchanga smelter requires high grade concentrate feed to function most efficiently which it said is not available in sufficient quantities in Zambia while several new mines ramp up to full capacity.
It said there is also a limited availability of suitable concentrates the region, which necessitates looking further afield.
‘In recent weeks Konkola Copper Mines has engaged in extensive consultations with stakeholders in relation to the importing of copper concentrates from Chile. KCM CEO, Mr Steven Din, recently met with Mr. Joseph Chewe, General Secretary of the Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) and other union leaders to brief them about the rationale for the concentrate imports. The other leaders came from the National Union of Mining and Allied Workers (NUMAW) and the United Mineworkers Union of Zambia (UMUZ),’ it said.
KCM said it is fully engaged with the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) and Mine Safety Department (MSD) in devising appropriate procedures to protect employees, communities and the environment.
‘KCM takes the health and safety of its employees, the surrounding communities and the environment very seriously,’ it said.