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Sunday, October 17, 2021

FIRST Quantum Minerals to lay off 500 workers at its Sentinel Mine

Economy FIRST Quantum Minerals to lay off 500 workers at its Sentinel...

FIRST Quantum Minerals (FQM) Plant under construction in Solwezi
FIRST Quantum Minerals (FQM) Plant under construction in Solwezi

FIRST Quantum Minerals (FQM) will lay off 500 workers at its Sentinel Mine at Kalumbila in Solwezi which is under construction.

The decision by the company to lay off the workers follows the delay by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) to lift a protection order for the company to construct the Chisola dam.

According to FQM spokesperson John Gladston, the company had been forced to lay off the workers because it could not sustain the current high workforce levels whilst it waited for ZEMA to lift a protection order that had prevented further construction on the Chisola Dam.

But Labour Deputy Minister Ronald Chitotela said Government would not allow the continued laying off of workers whenever a company was facing challenges.

Mr Chitotela appealed to the affected workers to remain calm as a team of experts would meet with FQM management to discuss the matter and find a way to avert the job losses.

In a separate interview, he said Government would not allow a situation, where mine owners opted to lay off workers, whenever they faced a problem.

“We are a caring Government and this is what the workers need to understand. We will not let this be the end decision. We are sending a team of experts to FQM to discuss the matter and find a solution. Companies should not look at workers as a cost but as a means of production,” he said.

“The company has been left with no option as employees have not been able to work on the dam whilst the ZEMA protection order is in force,” Mr Gladston said.

He said the company would soon be serving termination notices to the affected workers in the coming days.

He said the company was optimistic that the dialogue it had been having with Government would bring about a speedy resolution to safeguard the jobs of the people.

Recently Government moved in to intervene in a similar job slashing by Konkola Copper Mines which targeted to lay off 2000 employees.

In announcing the decision to lay off the 2,000 workers, KCM cited a slump in copper prices and high cost of production caused by rising fuel prices as the major reasons to reduce its workforce.

However the decision had since been halted.

25 COMMENTS

  1. It seems most of the mines have found lay offs as best negotiating tool with the government.Ethics Vs big business let’s see who wins!

    • I’ve never supported any copper mining company wishing to cut jobs, but in this instance FQM makes a lot of sense. Procedures for issuance of mining permits are very unco-ordinated in Zambia. One of the key requirements for issuance of a mining license is a business plan(which in this case would have included the construction of this dam) and an environmental management plan, followed by the approval of such a plan by ZEMA. So, how did Kalimbila Mine get a mining and operating license without such approval? And what sense doesn’t make to halt their operations if you approved their business plan? Utter nonsense Ba ZEMA! Lift this useless ban and allow people to remain in their jobs. Stop being greedy, selfish and corrupt!!!

    • @Wanu Ngwee
      ZEMA has been spot on many issues, yes the wheels may turn slower but that’s the nature of these organisations ever heard of the US Environmental Protection Agency, ZEMA is at least much more responsive than EPA and I doubt if your FQM would question them if they had a mine in the USA. These organisations are there to protect our interests just because FQM is a western company it does not necessary mean that they always do everything by the book. In fact ZEMA have just responded that Kalumbila Minerals Limited had commenced construction of the Chisola dam without the necessary approvals from the ZEMA as required by law…. in short FQM is asking GRZ to cut corners for them. One thing you should know with safety and the environment is that you just don’t compromise with it.

  2. Why are some of these mining companies suddenly exhibiting the nasty behaviour of subjecting workers to stress through threats of job-losses? Just why?

  3. Seems Zambian never learnt a lesson from Anglo American how they treated miners and left the country.

  4. Why keep the labour force when there is nothing to do?They will be called back once the government gives them a go ahead to construct the dam.Period!

  5. I think ploitics can be thinkless – how do you expect a company that is not funded by the govt to continue paying people for idling like that? You think this is like creating empty districts to keep cadres employed, no way. I am a Zambian in need of a job, but I cannot expect a company without work for me to employ me, no ways! Give then the money, and the companies will pay on your behalf you politicians! THINK Mr Chitotela.

  6. I wonder why it takes ZEMA forever to resolve such issues. This mentality should end, and end now!

  7. So what’s the Gov’t going to negotiate? Is it going to tell ZEMA to hastily lift the protection order, the mines are hoodwinking these dumb politicians.
    Wake up!!

  8. Are these investors doing Zambia a favor? if yes what favour? and if no why are they making Government dance to there tune? Why is Government setting such a bad precedent? For all i know these investors are reaping Zambia off thru Tax evasions, capital flight, damage to roads and other infrastructure which the ordinary Zambian tax payer has to bear cost of repair. Remember the environmental aspects of mining? who can reuse the land left after a mining excavation?
    I am an expatriate working in GCC and here investors have to follow stringent investment regulations notable of these is the need for locals to be share holders of atleast 40 % of shares and to have a certain number of locals in key management or board positions.
    so when are we in zambia going to do this? who says we are poor?

  9. multinational mining companies’ blackmail

    ZEMA / Taxes / jobless VS Big Business / huge profits / jobs / bribes

    those bast*** are won in advance…

  10. I said the selfsame thing when Vedanta Resources PLC (KCM) wanted to lay off 2000 workers that this is just corporate poker, Gov’t should have let those workers go instead of offering concessions which will cost us more in the long term. The impact of 2000 job losses is minimum on the economy. Today I’m reading reports that KCM has reduced allowances for its workers….KCM has not only got concessions from gov’t but also reduced its expenditure in the process…that’s chess mate!!
    Another investor FQM is arm twisting the gov’t again who have fallen for the bait the latest reports from ZEMA is stating that its subsidiary Kalumbila Minerals Ltd had commenced construction of the Chisola dam WITHOUT the necessary approvals from the ZEMA as required by LAW.

  11. I hope a member of the opposition in the Nation Assembly challenges the minister responsible to issue a statement on what concessions (if any) were offered to Vedanta Resources PLC (KCM) for it to rescind its decision to lay off those 2000 workers at KCM. The disorganised opposition parties need to wake up and stand up for the people of Zambia.

  12. This is just a sympton of a bad economy, sad our proud
    Leaders are so lost in how to effectively run the country
    More bad news to come if the don’t get away from always
    Campaigning to focus on the economy

  13. BLACKMAIL! Lift the damn Protection order or we lay off your voters! Capitalists know how to twist fingers

  14. we must be to be time conscious in zambia.why must ZEMA take forever to approve or disapprove.there are many projects that are hanging because of zema.we need to change.zema is holding is operating in a vacuum. Many things come in play when decisions are not made, one of which can be unnecessary costs, of keeping employs while waiting for zema.

  15. Give us a break , this was a bush with virtually no hope of development ,Govt should swallow pride and let FQML Continue with this dam .As a Supplier with this mine and always on site am told the guys making noise in conjuction with zema from the community just has 1000 cattle that they claim will be disadvantaged ,Sometimes I miss FTJ he should have made a move to stop this nonsense .

  16. i wonder y govt cant make a decision on behalf of ZEMA.believe me these pipo were given money to move now tht the money z finished they want more wat a zambia n solwezi i live inn God help us

  17. these investors re not doing Zambia a favour. soon Zambia llb ripped off. they say Zambian’s re not qualified of which I say NO in capital latter’s. we have so many universities n pipo keeps of graduating. d problem is our government. Zambian’s re being taxed when they get low salaries.me I have never seen or heard of a Zambian working in Angola, UK that gets paid in Zambia. they are paid from d country they re working from. Zambia ll never b developed .y can’t d government get tax frm these whites working in Zambia? these guys salaries re high. God help our government. its very annoying. God has blessed our country Zambia with so many minerals yet our country is still looking like this.its very sad

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