Zambia’s environmental authority halted operations at a copper-processing plant after a waste dam at the facility burst, flooding a stream that flows into a major river and destroying crops and fish.
The plant operators, Rongxin Investments Ltd., were also instructed to clean up the affected area and submit a restoration report, the Zambia Environmental Management Agency said in an emailed statement Friday.
The spillage occurred on Thursday after an embankment at the dam collapsed, “discharging huge volumes of tailings into the Luela Stream,” ZEMA said. The stream flows into the Kafue River, the biggest tributary of the the country’s main river, the Zambezi.
“ZEMA is working with other government agencies and departments to ensure that further regulatory action is taken,” the agency said.
More than 200 meters of land along the stream was polluted and crops belonging to several small-scale farmers buried in the waste when the stream burst its banks, it said.
(Corrects name of regulator in second paragraph)
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