By ALICE NACHILEMBE
The predicted caving-in (sloughing) of the ground at Konkola Copper mines Nchanga Open Pit (NOP) Cut 2 has occurred without any threat to safety.
KCM General Manager – Corporate Affairs Shapi Shachinda said the failure occurred around 08:30 hours and was controlled by planar sliding of the unstable ground above the Lower Banded Shale (LBS).
Mr Shachinda said the safety of employees and people in surrounding communities remains number one priority.
He said the company is appealing to residents of Chingola, especially the Nchanga North area to continue staying away from the NOP area even though there is no threat to life.
“We commend the residents for their co-operation in implementing safety measures announced by the company thus far. We also encourage local residents to continue normally with their daily business activities, while school authorities in the area and parents should encourage their children in examination classes not to stay away from school,” he said.
He said KCM Geo-technical team has predicted that the fall of ground on the extreme ends of the unstable zone will continue until all loose ground attain a natural angle of repose.
Mr Shachinda said the failure of the ground involved approximately 3 million tonnes of material spanning a distance of 370 metres around the epicenter of the failure zone.
“There was also visible distortion of the original water pipeline by the moving ground, but no negative impact is expected on the newly installed re-routed water pipeline, used to carry water from the Kafue Pump Station to the KCM Smelter and eventually to Mulonga Water and Sanitation Company for onward community consumption,” he said.