THE World Bank is expected to roll out a US$65 million mining and environmental remediation improvement project aimed at reducing environmental health risks in four mining towns.
Under the project, the World Bank is targeting Kitwe, Mufulira, Chingola and Kabwe.
Both World Bank country manager Ina Ruthenberg and senior mining specialist Martin Lokanc disclosed yesterday that the project that targets at mitigating mining pollution is next month expected to be presented to the World Bank Group for proposal approval.
“The World Bank through the previous Copperbelt Project supported the clean-up of polluted mining areas and helped strengthen environmental governance. We are taking up this agenda again following a request by the government because we all believe it is a major challenge for Zambia and impacts many livelihoods,” Ms Ruthenberg.
She said once implemented, the project will result in the treatment and nutritional supplements for over 30,000 children in Kabwe who have been impacted by lead pollution.
Lead impacts the cognitive capacity and thus is particularly harmful to children.
The project will also reduce the impact of sulphur dioxide on soil quality and improve agricultural productivity, a move that is expected to benefit about 1,000 farmers in Mufulira.
“Overall this project shall demonstrate how environmental clean-up can be designed and replicated,” she said.
Mr Lokanc also explained that the five-year project will, among other interventions be securing tailing dumps as they pose as a risk to the environment and personal safety.
Meanwhile, the World Bank with the support from German Development Cooperation and other stakeholders has launched a Zambia Mining Investment and Governance Review report aimed at strengthening the mining sector’s governance, investment environment and development impact.
Mr Lokanc also said the mining sector in Zambia is of significant national importance and makes an important contribution to the national economy.
“Given the significant resource potential and long life of mines, the sector is likely to remain important for the significant future. Investment has slowed down, partly due to prices,” he said.
Source: Daily Mail