Environmental impacts of coal mining at Maamba at collieries limited in , Zambia
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Environmental impacts of coal mining and processing operations on land, water and air are identified, measured, evaluated, interpreted and discussed. The impacts of these operations are scarring most of the areas, land surface degradation, pollution of surface water bodies as well as air pollution. This study is aimed at quantifying how much damage has been done to the environment as a result of open pit coal mining and processing operations. Estimates of rehabilitating and revegetating Kanzinze and Izuma pits have been established by the study. To achieve these objectives, assessment was done to quantify the total area disturbed by mining and waste dumping operations. This was done by detailed surveying of the pits and waste dumps using a GTS 701 Total Station. Results showed that 321 hectares of land and forest have been destroyed by the operations. Total volume of excavations in Kanzinze and Izuma pits amounts to 13.9 million m3 occupying an area of 268 hectares. Waste dumping have also affected the environment quite extensively and to date, 6.61 million m3 of overburden and discard material have been dumped and have occupied an area of 53 hectares. The types of costs estimated in the study include costs of backfilling excavations in mined out areas, dozing and grading of backfill material to required slope and revegetation in Kanzinze and Izuma pits. The costs of rehabilitating and revegetating past and present damages in Kanzinze and Izuma basins have been estimated at US$68,641,784. vii Water samples were collected at various points along the Kanzinze River and along its tributary (Izuma River). Results showed that the pH of water in the Kanzinze River dropped drastically from 7.7 at Kanzinze upstream to 2.5 downstream. The decrease in the pH was due to oxidation of pyrite (after exposure to oxygen and water) resulting in the formation of acidic effluent, acid water that is eventually discharged into the Kanzinze River. Effects of mining operations on air have also been assessed and discussed and results of the dust sampling indicate that the open pit and the Coal Preparation Plant (CPP) are the most affected in terms of coal and silica dust concentrations. Environmental regulations (i.e. current environmental policies and the Environmental and Protection and Pollution Control Act No. 12 of 1990) and their impacts on the operations of the mine have been reviewed and discussed. Factors that contribute to non-compliance by Maamba Collieries Limited (MCL) have also been established and suggestions made on how best the existing regulations can be modified to allow Maamba Collieries Limited conform to or embark on redressing past environmental impacts as well as modifications to current mining practices for the betterment of the environment.
The University of Zambia
- Mines