LUSAKA, Zambia, Mar 29, 2012 (Dow Jones) -- Development of the $690 million Ichimpe copper-and-cobalt mine in Kalulsuhi, northern Zambia, may be delayed until the miner submits the correct environmental impact assessment report for approval, senior government and environmental watchdog officials said Thursday.
The government has asked China's Zhonghui Mining Group to redesign and submit its mine plan to the Zambia Environmental Management Authority for approval because at present it encroaches into territories belonging to China Nonferrous Metals Co. Ltd. (8306.HK), mines permanent secretary Victor Mutambo said in Lusaka.
The environmental authority's acting spokesman, Alex Musesho, said submissions by the miner needed to be reviewed before approval to begin constructing the project could be sanctioned, while former mines minister Wllbur Simuusa told Dow Jones Newswires previously that the miner needed to undertake various formalities before the company's Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and mine plan can be approved.
A developer of a mine or any other work needing approval should not implement a project for which a brief or an environmental impact statement has not been concluded, according to Zambia's 1997 Statutory Instrument Number 28. Simuusa warned that government would not allow investors to skip certain procedures, but ensure all developers followed the law to the letter.
In May 2011, former president Rupiah Banda commissioned the construction of the mine, expected to produce 35,000 metric tons of copper and 2,000 tons of cobalt a year. It is forecast to be operational in 2014.