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SIAVONGA VILLAGERS DEMAND WATER POLLUTION PROBE RESULTS

By OLIVER SAMBOKO

VILLAGERS living around the Canadian-owned Mutanga Uranium Mine in Southern province have challenged the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) to make public its findings on the water contamination investigation it carried out in the area. 

GoviEx acquired 100 percent of the Mutanga Project from Denison Mines Corp in 2016.

Operations at the uranium Mine which include the Mutanga, Dibwe, and Dibwe East deposits are still in infancy.

The Mutanga Project comprised of three mining licenses (13880-HQ-LML, 13881-HQ-LML, and 12634-HQ-LML) extending 720 square kilometres.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily Nation, the villagers complained that they have continued to experience strange diseases including infertility which they suspect is due to contamination of the ground water in the area. 

Derick Mbone who spoke on behalf of other villagers, said it was unfair for ZEMA to keep quiet on a very sensitive matter that concerns the lives of so many people.

He argued that people have been affected by the presence of uranium in the area especially those living around the Mutanga Mine area.

He explained that whenever the water levels reach the lowest during the hot season, the people are affected more implying, that the contamination could have been caused during drilling for uranium samples carried out by GoviEx and Denison Mines who owned the Mine previously.

Mr Mbone appealed to Government to find a new investor for the Mutanga mine saying the current licence holder has failed to commence operations on pretext that uranium prices are low at the international market.

He said Government should not allow GoviEx to continue exploration indefinitely as this has raised suspicions among the community that the mine company is secretly mining the mineral without the knowledge of Government.

Different tests carried in the area have revealed that uranium levels in drinking water sources in the vicinity are alarming.

Some studies have also showed uranium concentrations in drinking water exceeded the safe limit for drinking water recommended by World Health Organization (WHO).

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