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Zambia suspends output at copper processor after waste dam burst

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10/16/2020 | 01:32pm EDT

LUSAKA, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Zambia suspended operations at a copper processing plant after it discharged huge quantities of effluent into a stream after a dam burst, the nation's environmental management agency said on Friday.

The waste dam at the plant, more than 370 km north of Lusaka, collapsed on Thursday discharging massive quantities of effluent into the Luena stream, the agency said in a statement.

The Luena is a tributary of a river that feeds into Zambia's main Zambezi river, a source of water for wildlife and people of the landlocked south central African country.

"A stretch of more than 200 meters along the Luena stream has been polluted, affecting fish and other aquatic organisms," the Zambia Environmental Management Agency said.

Some small-scale farmers who grow their crops on the banks of the Luena had some of their crops buried by the discharge, the statement said.

The company, Rongxin Investments Limited, was ordered to suspend operations and clean up the stretch of water before submitting an application to re-start operations.

Rongxin Investments could not be contacted after repeated attempts. (Reporting by Chris Mfula in Lusaka; Editing by Promit Mukherjee and Mark Potter)


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