By ALICE NACHILEMBE
Mines Minister Richard Musukwa says the Sulphur dioxide discharge by Konkola Copper Mines that affected KCM employees and pupils at Nchanga trust school was unacceptable and should not re-occur.
Mr Musukwa told KCM to put safety measures in high gear as it is mandated to provide safety of the environment.
He said that government regrets the situation and told KCM to apply world class safety mechanism to avoid such occurrence in the future.
Speaking he visited KCM in company of Nchanga Member of Parliament Chali Chilombo, the Minister said the mines should not use weather or power sage as an excuse of what transpired.
He said the smelter operates on scientific measures, hence it should have a scientific solution.
Mr Musukwa said was also tipped by the District Commissioner Mary Chibesa that Mutipa stream had also been polluted and people were unable to do gardening anymore.
He said such issues should not take public outcry to be mitigated but the mine has a duty to take safety precautions.
The Minister visited KCM to ascertain the condition of what happened last week when KCM discharged Sulphur dioxide that affected pupils in the exam at Nchanga trust.
He also addressed pupils after checking at the smelter and South hospital.
Mr Musukwa said the mine should put collective measures in place as the amount of discharge was beyond what was supposed to be discharged.
He said that Government is focusing on making the mine viable and working at it that a credible investor is found.
KCM Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Christopher Sheppard said the incident was regrettable and that they are working that it doesn’t reoccur.
Mr Sheppard said that they have taken necessary measures and managed the situation well and ensured pupils wrote the exams.
He said KCM took accountability over what transpired and are investigating the matter at hand and have completely put the smelter on shut down so remedial work is done before opening.
KCM Director for Smelting and Refining and Napundwe Special Business Unit (SBU) Enock Mponda said that it was the old smelter that discharged the acid responding to the Ministers question on whether they smelt was not 99 percent efficient.