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8 Sep 2015

Nomsa Maseko, BBC News (UK)

Zambian villagers take Vedanta Resources to court in UK - accuse company of turning water sources to "rivers of acid"

"'Rivers of acid' in Zambian villages", 8 Sep 2015

The communities of Hippo Pool, Kakosa, Shimulala and Hellen say the Mushishima stream and the Kafue [River] have become rivers of acid.  Hundreds of villagers who claim copper mining operations in the area have poisoned their water source and destroyed farmland are taking...Vedanta Resources...to court.

Leaked documents...appear to show that Vedanta Resources - through its Zambian based Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) [jointly owned with ZCCM Resources] - have been spilling sulphuric acid and other toxic chemicals into the water sources.  A whistle-blower, who worked for 15 years with KCM, alleges that since Vedanta bought the mine in 2004, corners have been cut to save the costs of running operations... 

Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) denied in a statement to the BBC that it had failed to maintain critical equipment adequately or that heavy spillages and massive leakages occurred due to degraded equipment and leaking pumps and pipes... 

The soil in the copper belt used to be rich...but now produces virtually nothing.  The community believes this is due to pollution entering the stream...[and] people's health is also being affected.