First Quantum Minerals (FQM) has expressed concern over deliberate burning of forest landscapes and grasslands adopted by the mine for environmental conservation.
Country Manager, Godwin Beene, said some people recently walked into a protected game management area and set the area ablaze.
According to a statement issued in Lusaka on Friday and made available to Zambia Monitor, Beene said traditional leaders still had the royal authority to stop bushfires.
“FQM will do everything possible to join efforts with traditional leaders to enforce environmental protection,” he said.
Environment Manager, Kachiwala Sapaulo, said the company had spent US$6 million to protect a rare tree species called Mavunda in North Western Province.
Sapaulo said the company had surface rights amounting to 385 Square kilometers of which only 100 square kilometers was currently being disturbed through mining.
“In the 100 square kilometers that is mined, we conduct restoration on an annual basis. For an area which is developed where we will not go back, we begin rehabilitation and planting of trees to reinstitute the environment to what it was,” Sapaulo said.
He said the mining sector had learnt lessons especially on the Copperbelt, where there were national forests as well.
“If you go to Ndola and Kitwe, what used to be forests are now real estate. We therefore, adopted forests, not within our mining areas, some very close others very far,” Sapaulo said.
“This is to ensure that we avoid a repeat of what happened on the Copperbelt,” he said.
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