Kaonkoya residents relocated as they pave way for mining activities

By Staff Reporter

Fight Inequality Alliance Zambia has hailed the relocation of the people affected by Glencore’s mining operations in Kankoyo as long overdue.

In a statement issued yesterday by Fight Inequality Alliance national coordinator Daisy Mwilima, area member of parliament Dr Brian Mushimba had committed himself to the successful implementation of the programme.

The alliance held a meeting last week with activists, Kankoyo community representatives and Dr Mushimba.

She disclosed that Mushimba assured that government was working to ensure that 10 percent of the worst affected families in the mining town of Kankoyo were moved to a safer location ‘immediately’ while the remaining 90 percent households would be relocated in phases by 2022.

Mwilima said that her organisation would not back down until the demands of the community in Kankoyo are resolved.

“We will keep a watchful eye on how long the Zambian government will take to deliver their promises. The community has been demanding quick action by the government to relocate families affected by mining activities to a much more safer and conducive location. Cracks are visible on the houses, which are caused by seismic blasting from the mining operations. Water and sanitation systems in the community have disintegrated, as severe health problems have also been reported, especially among the children,” she said.

Mwilima pointed out that the activists and community members also demanded for the site to be declared as an environmental disaster zone, but the government said they are not inclined to do this because they do not want to “cause alarm”.

Meanwhile, ActionAid Zambia Head of Programmes and Policy Jeston Lunda appealed to the Minister, Dr Mushimba, to disseminate information on the developments to the community members who are not aware of this.

“We are also advocating for policy affecting ownership and management of damage caused by mining operations in host communities. Copper mining has had a prominent place in Zambia’s economy for close to a century now, and remains the country’s top export product. But multinationals, such as Glencore Plc, have taken over ownership of mining operations and have been making profits, while communities who host them, such as Kankoyo, suffer from huge inequalities and environmental damage including poverty, health and social problems,” he said.

And Mushimba said that he would intensify the follow ups with the Office of the Vice President, who is responsible for the relocation process, to ensure that the process is quick.

 He said that the land for the relocation has been identified and the Zambia Air Force, Zambia Army and the Disaster Management Unit (DMMU) are moving on the new site to start the construction of houses for the relocated families.

Mushimba has further promised the activists that he will be in constant touch with Fight Inequality Alliance to ensure stakeholders are kept up to date with the progress being made in addressing the Kankoyo issue.



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