As Zambia’s largest taxpayer, the mining firm believes that apart from a good fiscal regime, close and constant dialogue between investors and the media can lead to a good and proper functioning business environment, brought by factual and non-biased reporting.
Speaking when the mining firm’s Kansanshi and Sentinel Mines hosted a media engagement forum, which brought together journalists from various media houses, FQM’s Kansanshi Mine Public Relations Manager, Godfrey Msiska, said that one of the roles of the media is to provide checks and balances, while remaining factual and professional.
“I think it is very important for us to have this regular forum. Why do I say so, a lot of issues can be resolved, a lot of suspicions can be addressed, a lot of perceptions can be removed, and that helps to build the confidence between us and yourselves,” explained Mr Msiska.
He further noted that there are situations when media houses misreport events or occurrence in communities affected by FQM’s mining operations, something which he observed may affect the company’s standing with stakeholders.
“You have a role to play. Checks and balances. Inform the public based on the information that you gather, but please do not hesitate to approach us so we can confirm or dismiss whatever information you might have gathered. It’s a two-way traffic. We are very happy always as First Quantum Minerals to work with the media, because we have a duty to inform the public through your medium about what is going on at our mines.
We are a listed company on stock exchanges around the world, and we are now a global brand. There are certain minimum standards that we must observe, and I can tell you that integrity is key, and someone that doesn’t tell the truth does not have integrity. So, we shall continue to engage with you so that we can sustain this transparency,” he continued.
He said relationships between mines and the media cannot be taken for granted maintaining that creating a good working environment can be a hugely-important enabler to sustainability of the Zambian mining sector.
FQM’s social sustainability spending has exceeded US$100 million since it started its operations in Zambia – delivering tangible social improvement to thousands of Zambians.
Kansanshi employs more than 9,500 people, primarily Zambians, and uses state-of-the-art processing technology with world-class efficiency to extract copper from three different ore types.
In 2010 First Quantum Minerals bought the mining concession in Kalumbila. Construction of the new mine – Sentinel – started in 2012 and would go on for another four years.
Sentinel Mine represents an investment of more than US$2.1 billion.
The firm’s 6,000 employees excavate, transport and process over 55 million tonnes of low-grade ore to produce up to 300,000 tonnes of copper per annum.