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Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) is the largest copper producer in Zambia, exporting copper and cobalt cathodes. The KCM Project envisaged a two phase development program that involved purchasing and rehabilitating the mine and its processing facilities. In January 2002, Anglo Gold, the owners of KCM, announced that they were resiling from the project. Consequently, IFC also withdrew from the project during the same month. IFC acknowledged the uncompleted commitments that remained upon exiting the project, yet stressed the considerable environmental and social improvements resulting from the project.
In July 2003, Citizens for a Better Environment, a local civil society organization, lodged a complaint with CAO on behalf of the people of Ming’omba & Kawama. The complaint raised issues relating to IFC’s responsibilities for an on-going resettlement action plan during and after its exit from the project. The following concerns were raised:
IFC exited the project before full implementation of the RAP and failed to put in place mechanisms for monitoring to ensure full implementation of RAP over the post-exit period in accordance with IFC policies and standards;
In contrast with its policy on consultation and disclosure, IFC failed to consult on or publicly disclose to affected communities the decision to exit the project, which caused uncertainty and desperation amongst affected communities.
Phase 2 of the project involved the construction of a dam that required the neighboring communities of Kawama and Ming’omba to be resettled. Accordingly, the resettlement plan was devised, which identified a number of development needs in Kawama and infrastructure needs in Ming’omba. The RAP also highlighted the fact that many people in Ming’omba were highly dependent for their livelihood on the production of charcoal. As such, the RAP suggested measures to ease the transition to agriculture in order to ensure an environmentally and sustainable livelihood.
Case Status: Closed
The Assessment Report, completed in November 2003, found that IFC was under no obligation to remain engaged in the environmental and social performance of KCM after it exited as an investor and shareholder. Nevertheless, IFC did engage with KCM at the time of exit to assist KCM in implementing the RAP until complete. As such, CAO recommended that no further action be undertaken in relation to the complaint. The report highlighted that the long term economic and social well-being of the communities was dependant on the quality of delivery of the agreements made in the RAP, which would require coordination, partnership, patience and creativity. The complaint was closed in January 2005.
CAO case story page: http://www.cao-ombudsman.org/cases/case_detail.aspx?id=116