FIRST Quantum Minerals (FQM) has said it is focused on delivering significant and sustained benefits to host communities at Kalumbila, 120 kilometres west of Solwezi where the company is constructing Sentinel Mine, a copper deposit at estimated cost of US$2 billion.
The company has also clarified that the construction of the Chisola Dam had resumed following government’s decision to lift the protection order the Zambia Environmental Agency had put in place.
The lifting of the order was subject to three conditions, with FQM taking the option of immediate resumption of construction subject to outcome of an environmental impact assessment (EIA).
Company Spokesperson, John Gladston said in a statement released in Lusaka yesterday that the mining company that is Zambia’s largest copper producer had a structured and robust plan in place for resettlement and compensation, a process underpinned by greater transparency and openness through an established consultative public liaison forum.
“We are focused on building and sustaining a profitable mining business that delivers significant and sustained benefits to the host communities, broader population of Zambia and the company while at the same time ensuring that the environment was cared for and protected,” he said.
Mr Gladston said consistent with the approach of building communities that were economically, ecologically and socially sustainable, FQM had made unprecedented investment in uplifting the lives of the immediate communities.
He said this included creating more than 1750 direct jobs with hundreds more indirectly, improving food security through conservation farming, and fighting malaria, HIV and AIDS.”
Mr Gladston also stressed that FQM has, and continues to have an open dialogue with government, regulatory bodies, communities and other stakeholders to ensure that issues that affected communities were speedily addressed in an open and transparent manner.
“The community is impatient to see development at Kalumbila, and the response is overwhelmingly positive. And to we have an established consultative public liaison forum, a mechanism that ensures that resettlement and compensation and other relevant matters happen in a fair, open and transparent manner,” he said.
Sentinel is the first of the three potential mines at FQM’s large-scale mining project, Trident. The completion of Sentinel Mine and ongoing expansions at Kansanshi Mine is expected to raise FQM’s copper production to an estimated 700,000 tonnes per year.
Sentinel is expected to create 2000 direct jobs for Zambians when the mine is fully operational. An additional 400 jobs at the company’s planned USD$400 million smelter to be built in Solwezi.