By JOHN CHOLA
First Quantum Minerals (FQM) took the Best Exhibition Award in Commercial Hall awards and came out second in the Mining Exhibition category.
With its Inclusive Transformation theme, the 95th Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show saw FQM showcase its top three mining operations at Kansanshi Mining Plc, Sentinel Copper Mine and the newly-commissioned US$250 million Enterprise Nickel Mine in Kalumbila.
“If you see these expansions going on at our various operations, it clearly shows that FQM is all about inclusive economic transformation. When you look at our investment and the workforce at all units it will again show that we care more for our employees and communities,” said FQM Kalumbila Minerals Public Relations Manager Mirriam Harmon.
Speaking at the Show, Harmon said the company’s inclusive economic transformation was about never leaving anyone behind, “Our inclusive economic transformation is about not leaving anyone behind. Whatever it is that we can do where the community is lacking, where there are gaps, we try to make sure that we bring in other avenues like local business development and we include our communities in our everyday growth by taking care of them.
“We have had programmes that target children from communities who have never had a chance to afford school, as well as the teachers’ professional development. We design and implement programmes such as scholarships working with the Ministry of Education to ensure all children in our communities access school.”
The organization offered scholarships, added Harmon, from Grade One to college level “because we know and have seen that once these children are empowered with education, they go back to impact their families and communities positively.”
FQM had over the years transformed people in the communities from unskilled to skilled, thereby making it possible for them to sustain their lives and those of their families.
“For those from our communities where we have been operating who want to further their skills, we have partnered with various technical colleges which provide community members with the survival skills that have been lacking in North-Western Province,” added Harmon.
She noted further that the commissioning of Africa’s largest Nickel Mine in Kalumbila, expected to yield 32,000 tonnes of nickel yearly, and the US$1.2 billion expansion at Kansanshi Mining Plc, meant that more than 2400 people would be employed.
“Besides the massive direct jobs created, this also means more contractor and supplier opportunities; leading to a multiplier effect as thousands of families of those directly working with the mine will also have their lives improved.
“Currently FQM Zambia has 16,000 direct and indirect employees and when you multiply that number by say 10 family members supported by each of our employees, this is a clear meaning of inclusive economic transformation,” Harmon said.
“We are also investing heavily in environmental rehabilitation and restoration using the best management practices to make sure that at the end of mines’ lifespan, there will be no environmental damage.”
Harmon assured that as one of the top global mining firms, FQM would continue to ensure that the massive operational expansions would be carried out with environment-friendly technology.
“As a mining company and a point of reference for best practice mining operations, we are proud to note that it’s largely Zambians at the centre of FQM success, whether as geologists, engineers, metallurgists, or artisans. We are a classic case of true inclusive economic transformation.”