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Zambia Closes Chinese-Run Mine Over Air Pollution

File image of a mine in Zambia.
by Staff Writers
Lusaka (AFP) May 14, 2007
Zambia has shut down a Chinese-run mine because its contribution to air pollution which threatens the health of hundreds of residents of nearby townships, an official told AFP Monday. Chiman Manufacturing Limited, which mines Manganese, was indefinitely closed on Friday for failing to put in place air pollution control mechanisms, said Justin Mukosa, spokesman of the Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ), a statutory regulator.

"We issued a closure notice on Friday for non-compliance with the evironmental concerns we raised after inspecting the mine in March," Mukosa said.

Chiman opened the 200-million-dollar mine about two years ago in Kabwe, a mining town 150 kilometres north of the capital, Lusaka.

The area is known as one of the world's most polluted places from decades of mining substances like copper and lead, with serious health implications for residents.

Mukosa said Chiman had also been found liable for failing to provide adequate personal protective equipment for staff.

The mining plant had been emitting air pollution beyond the statutory limits, affecting hundreds of residents of nearby townships, he added.

"We will only re-open the mine once all the environmental concerns have been addressed."

Zambia has lately experienced an influx of Chinese investors in mining, manufacturing and agriculture, but their safety record is viewed with suspicion especially after more than 50 workers died in an explosion at a Chinese-owned copper mine in 2005.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Paris (AFP) May 09, 2007
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