’Lift Ban On Dangote Mining Activities’

GOVERNMENT has directed the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) to lift the ban on mining activities slapped on Dangote Industries Zambia Limited. In January this year, ZEMA banned the company from carrying out mining activities because the firm had diverted water from the local stream in Masaiti District for their works without permission.

Commerce, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Miles Sampa said the ban slapped on Dangote was delaying the development of the cement plant which is situated in Masaiti. He said ZEMA should instead stop the company from getting water from the stream than banning all mining activities.

Mr Sampa said such acts were frustrating the investor who had already put in a lot of money in the cement production plant. “ZEMA should not stop progress were an investor has put in a lot of money. In this case, it is the same ZEMA that approved the project in 2011 and we do not see any reason why the company should be banned from carrying out activities this year,” he said yesterday during a tour of the plant.

Mr Sampa said Dangote had put in more than $400 million in the plant and that the project would create more than 1,000 jobs for the local people once commissioned in July this year. Chief Chiwala of the Lamba speaking people of Masaiti alleged that ZEMA was contributing to the delay in the development of the plant.

He appealed to ZEMA to look at the terms of reference of the company than acting on pressure the institution was getting from individuals who did not want to see development in the area.

ZEMA director Joseph Sakala who, was present at the tour declined to comment when asked by journalists.

Meanwhile, Dangote group board director Monica Musonda said that 92 per cent of the works at the plant were done and that it would be ready for commissioning in July this year.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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