Zambia: Report alleges mining related pollution causing food insecurity & compromising livelihoods, includes FQM’s comments; KCM did not respond

In May 2019 Swedwatch released a report on unsustainable copper mining in Zambia. The report titled Copper with a cost Human rights and environmental risks in the minerals supply chains of ICT. A case study from Zambia. The study found that communities have suffered from food insecurity and lowered income-levels as pollution of soil and water caused by discharge has degraded their farmland, and that relocation of communities following the establishment of mining projects have proved challenging. The report findings highlight the importance that ICT companies sourcing copper perform HRDD on their mineral supply chains, such as copper and other high-risk minerals, in addition to 3TG and cobalt. The research team also visited Chingola, which hosts the Nchanga mine owned by Konkola Copper Mines Plc. (KCM). Swedwatch initiated dialogue with First Quantum Minerals Limited (FQM) in response FQM stated it has followed international best practices in its relocation programme. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited both Vedanta and KCM to respond both did not respond, the Resource Centre will publish the response when we receive it.

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Article
3 June 2019

First Quantum Minerals says it follows international best practices in its relocation programmes

Author: First Quantum Minerals

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. response to Swedwatch’s report “Copper with a cost – Human rights and environmental risks in the minerals supply chains of ICT: A case study from Zambia.”

First Quantum Minerals Ltd (FQM) has taken note of the Swedwatch report Copper with a Cost which covers the issues facing the global copper mining sector and their impact on mining communities. The report addresses a number of important issues for the industry. Transparency and integrity are key pillars of FQM’s ethos and the company is pleased to see that Swedwatch shares the company’s determination to make a positive economic and social difference to the people living in the areas where it operates.

The US$100 million that FQM has spent on poverty alleviation and social development in Zambia is clear testament to the company’s ongoing engagement and support for local —including resettled— communities.This is in addition to the impact of employment, taxes and local procurement. Through its Trident Foundation, the company relocated 579 households whilst it developed the Sentinel Mine in Kalumbila in 2013. The programme, which rigorously followed international best practice, is recognised as having set a new benchmark in a difficult and sensitive area for the industry. Despite the inevitable challenges with any programme such as this, FQM believes its resettlement work at Kalumbila¸ which encompasses development programmes in health, education, farming, livelihoods and infrastructure; is a model for other companies undertaking similar community work across the world.

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Report
28 May 2019

Zambia: Swedwatch report alleges mining related pollution causing food insecurities and compromising livelihoods

Author: Swedwatch

'Copper with a cost- Human rights and environmental risks in the mineral supply chains of ICT: A case study from Zambia', May 2019

In the report Copper with a cost – Human rights and environmental risks in the minerals supply chains of ICT, Swedwatch presents findings from research in Zambia where it assessed human rights risks in the large-scale mining of copper. Copper is used in a vast number of information and communication (ICT) products, and as Zambia is one of the largest copper producers in the world, there is a clear possibility that Zambian copper is found in today’s global ICT supply chains. Zambian mining projects have often been linked to adverse human rights impacts, particularly for communities located near the mining sites.

Swedwatch’s research in two of the country’s mining areas found that environmental pollution from copper mining impacted negatively on the right to clean water and health for community members in the Chingola district. In the district of Kalumbila, community members who had been relocated due to the establishment of a new mine claimed they were facing unemployment and had problems accessing markets where they could sell their crops. 

“Swedwatch’s study finds that communities have suffered from food insecurity and lowered incomelevels as pollution of soil and water has degraded their farmland, and that relocation of communities following the establishment of mining projects have proved challenging. Even in cases where a mining company has provided compensation or invested in community programs, livelihoods have been difficult to restore”, says Linda Scott Jakobsson, researcher at Swedwatch.

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Company non-response
28 May 2019

Konkola Copper Mines did not respond