China’s Collum Coal Mining Industries is restarting operations this week at its controversial mine in Zambia.
Collum coal mine was seized and placed under care and maintenance by the Zambian Government in 2013 citing safety lapses, and all three licences held by the company were revoked.
The mine, which currently has the potential to produce 12,000t of coal a month, supplies fuel to Zambia’s copper and cobalt mines and is expected to employ more than 1,000 workers when operational.
Zambia’s decision to return the mine to the company’s control comes after Collum assured the government it will enforce proper measures for improvements.
Media sources cited Collum Coal Mining Industries general manager Xu Jain Xue as saying that the company plans to renovate the mine’s facilities over the next four years with a $40m investment.
Upon completion of renovation works, the company aims to increase its existing coal production capacity to more than 40,000t, Lusakatimes reported.
Zambia President Edgar Lungu said if the government finds no improvement in operations at the mine it may again be closed.
Lungu also instructed the Ministry of Mines to ensure that safety is guaranteed at the mine prior to commencing operations.
Zambian Mining Minister Yamfwa Mukanga said the licences were previously revoked due to poor safety, health and environmental records, and a lack of approved personal protective equipment for employees.
Collum Coal Mine also failed to provide emergency medical treatment facilities underground and did not declare the quantity of coal it was producing.