KML environmental manager Joseph Ngwira confirmed that the mining company mobilized staff and equipment and promptly responded to the incident, which happened between 21.00 hours and 22.00 hours on October 18, and successfully contained the spilled volume of petroleum.
According to an environmental incident report compiled by Ngwira, while transporting 19,000 litres of diesel and 6,000 litres of petrol, Gift Mupndu from Alamtara Fuel Logistics of Ndola lost control of the fuel tanker as he was driving up the stream, the tanker unhooked from the horse and flipped.
The fuel tanker flipped at Lumwana West, about 90 kilometres from the mine area.
He narrated that the First Quantum Minerals (FQM) Emergency Response Team (ERT) and the environmental department initially organized community members to manually excavate holding ponds, while waiting for hydrocarbon adsorbent and appropriate machinery to decant the hydrocarbons and lift the tanker from the road.
“Based on the equipment used (standard hourly rate and fuel consumption) without labour cost for KML personnel and tear and wear, the direct cost incurred was about US $1,853,” Ngwira stated.
Ngwira said that the incident that occurred near Lumwana West, about 120 metres from the Kanyitungulu River on the Mwinilunga Road, had potential to contaminate surface water as well as significantly endanger community members if response measures were delayed.
“Despite the incident not being caused by mining operations and occurred outside the mine area, KML promptly responded to the incident in the spirit of good corporate citizenship” Ngwira stated in the report.
He said the team managed to prevent surface water and land pollution by containment, use of absorbent and securing the tanker as measures employed in addressing the impact of the accident.
Ngwira added that the surrounding communities were also protected from potential safety incidents due to the flammable nature of material involved, and that the KML response measures cleared the public road for easy movement of traffic, in both directions on the Mwinilunga highway.
And he called for enhanced law enforcement to ensure that transporters of dangerous goods were prepared for emergency responses, and that they should have adequate insurance cover to facilitate responding to emergency needs.
“There should be a mechanism for cost recovery through enforcement of third-party insurance and polluter pays principles. It is also important to ensure adequate training of transporters of dangerous goods and using road worthy of trucks,” recommended Ngwira.
“Depending on the nature of pollutant, the consequences may be catastrophic if the response strategy to address the potential problems is inadequate or delayed. The pollutant may affect the air quality, land, water and immediate communities.”
– Courtesy of SUMA SYSTEMS.