The aim of this chapter is to outline the background of the research. The chapter also states the problem statement, the site location, the justification and the research objectives.
1. Background Information
The Nchanga Environmental Management Plan, (October 2008), states that Nchanga Mine is located in Chingola, in the Copperbelt, Republic of Zambia. Historical operations began in the 1930 shortly after the discovery of a copper bearing ore outcrop in the Nchanga Stream.
In 2004, Vedanta Resources took over the ownership of Konkola Copper Mines. Inherently, KCM assumed responsibility for all environmental liabilities left behind by the previous owners.
The Nchanga Mining License Area (LML34) covers an area of 11 763 ha while the principle mining activities covers a total area of about 3 715 ha. The plant complex covers an area of about 198 ha.
Ore is extracted by open pit and underground mining. Processing facilities include a concentrator where copper and cobalt ore are processed using conventional flotation circuits to produce concentrates, a smelter and a Tailings Leach Plant where tailings are treated by means of a hydrometallurgical process for the production of copper cathodes. Waste disposal facilities acquired by KCM include nine overburden dumps that occupy an area of approximately 730 ha and five tailings dams distributed over approximately 2100 ha. According to the present plans, the operations will continue until 2035.
2. Site Location
Nchanga Mine is situated in Chingola, where KCM has its headquarters. It is approximately 50 km northwest of Kitwe, and about 40 km south of the border between the Republic of Zambia and the Republic of Congo, Figure-1
3. Problem Statement
The mining activities use various equipment and machinery that lead to the generation of used oil and oily sludge (mixture of oil,...