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JCTR, Kalumbila differ over water quality

NANCY SIAME & CATHERINE MUMBA, Lusaka
THE Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has accused Kalumbila mine in Solwezi of providing contaminated water not fit for human consumption to Northern resettlement area in the mining area.
But Kalumbila mine public relations coordinator Miriam Harmon has disputed the allegation by JCTR.
JCTR public relations officer for Northern region Tendai Posiana said in an interview yesterday that her organisation is saddened at the development.
“During a tour conducted by the JCTR team in the areas, it was discovered that the water coming out of boreholes that is supplied to the communities by the mining company is not suitable for human consumption,” Ms Posiana said.
She said the water turns reddish-brown a few minutes after being collected from the boreholes and that causes relish such as beans to turn black.
Ms Posiana said community members also suspect that the water has been contributing to the high number of diarrhoea cases experienced in the area.
She said the community is apprehensive to use the water for washing clothes for fear of having them discoloured.
“Some community members talked to during the community trainings appealed to Kalumbila mine to as soon as possible address the issue, which might result in people dying,” Ms Posiana said.
She said it is important that Government and mining companies work together to ensure that people living in such communities have easy access to safe and clean drinking water.
But Ms Harmon said in an interview that despite the mining firm having sunk the boreholes in the affected area, it is not responsible for the alleged contamination.
She said the location of the said community is far from the mine hence it could not possibly be responsible for the contamination.
“If the water was contaminated, the community should have brought the matter to our attention. We took all measures when sinking the boreholes to ensure the water is safe,” she said.
Ms Harmon said the mining firm is further not aware of the rampant cases of diarrhoea in the affected community.
She said the mining firm is ready to prove its innocence in the matter.

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