CHINGOLA, Zambia, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Zambian government says it will penalize Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) depending on the outcome of the investigations that have been launched to establish the cause of gassing of close to 300 people which also included KCM employees, a senior government official has said.
Richard Musukwa, Minister of Mines and Mineral Development said the government in conjunction with local environmental regulators have launched investigations into the incidence which left over 53 KCM employees and 232 pupils from Nchanga Trust School hospitalized on Friday.
The Vedanta-owned mining firm has had its Acid plant shut by ZEMA to pave way for investigations into what caused the incident.
"If found wanting KCM will be penalized. There is need to conduct operations with care especially when handling such operations involving gas," he said.
Nchanga Member of Parliament Chali Chilombo called on stakeholders to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident.
In a press release, KCM corporate general manager Eugene Chungu regretted the incident which he said was caused by an electrical surge.
Chungu said the incident that occurred at the Nchanga 500 TPD Sulphur Burning Plant was gas emission, which affected the plant area and surrounding community resulting in some members of the community being hospitalized.