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Copper Mine Development and Environmental Sustainability: A Study of Nchanga Open Pit Mine in Chingola Township of Zambia

Abstract:The pursuit for environmental sustainability is not only a global journey but a national goal. The study’s aim was geared towards examining the impact of copper mine development on environmental sustainability in Chingola. The study’s objective was to demonstrate how copper mine development affects environmental sustainability. The study incorporated both system theory and ecological modernization theory. A mixed study research approach was used to describe the study methodology. Questionnaires were used in collection of qualitative and quantitative data. The study target population consisted of all the individuals living in Chingola Mining Area. Non-probability sampling was used by the researcher due to the specificity of the study participants who were aware of mining processes. A sample matrix of 366 participants was drawn with four categories namely miners, students, civil servant members and local civil society members. The response rate consisted of 266 participants. The research presented the following key findings; copper mining was identified as a key driver of the economy in Chingola. The inhabitants of Chingola commented that environmental sustainability is essential for the current and future generations. The study findings were that Copper mine development has a negative impact on environmental sustainability. Recommendations drafted based on the findings to promote environmental sustainability are that: during exploration there should be minimal impact on the environment, people and certification of practice in exploration of minerals should be granted based on clear mining plans from the exploration stage to the reclamation stage. The study also recommends that environmental protection practices for water, air and soil components must be highlighted clearly, as constant assessments are done. The following are areas of research are recommended by the study: Importance of assessment routines in management of natural resource by the government; contribution of community participation in proper management of mining companies; impact of mine reclamation stage on environmental protection and determination of sustainable waste management mechanisms practiced by mining companies.Key Terms:Copper, Mine Development and Environmental Sustainability
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