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MOPANI Copper Mines(MCM) PLC has implemented programmes aimed at empowering and building capacity of local contractors and other small and medium enterprises in Zambia.
MCM Chief Executive Officer Danny Callow said the Company was encouraging formation of joint venture partnerships between local contractors and internationally-recognized foreign firms wishing to do business with the mining company.
Mr Callow said the company's policy on joint ventures would help build capacity for local companies.
“We have a deliberate policy that encourages foreign manufacturing companies wishing to do business with us to partner with local companies or involve Zambians in their shareholding structures. This, we believe, will help build capacity of local companies, encourage skills transfer and give a competitive edge to the local firms while improving quality and efficiency,” said Mr Callow.
One such joint venture supported by MCM is between Shawonga Enterprises Limited of Zambia and ZINPRO Engineering of South Africa which have partnered to form ZINPRO Zambia Limited, to specialise in shaft and structural steel rehabilitation works.
ZINPRO Zambia has been engaged by MCM to undertake massive refurbishment of the shaft infrastructure.
This is contained in a statement by MCM public relations manager Cephas Sinyangwe released in Kitwe yesterday.
Mr Callow said initially the attention was directed at improving processing plants and that time had come to address mining related issues.
He said at privitisation, MCM inherited dilapidated infrastructure both on surface and underground and the company's major focus was to upgrade the Smelter to eliminate emissions and improve its efficiency.
Mr Callow said the project was completed 15 months ahead of schedule in March this year and was currently operating effectively.
“Our focus now is to improve efficiency and productivity of underground operations. Maintenance of vertical shaft infrastructure is a highly specialised job and there is lack of local skills in this regard due to many years of lack of investment. Every month Mopani loses about 6000 metric tonnes of copper due to shaft shutdowns to facilitate maintenance.
Mr Callow said by bringing in shaft experts such as ZINPRO Zambia Limited, MCM would address the problem of frequent shutdowns, achieve continued production and less maintenance costs.
ZINPRO Zambia Operations Director, London Mwafulilwa hailed MCM for supporting joint ventures which would benefit the country.
Mr Mwafulilwa said the joint venture would enable Zambians participate in improving productivity in the mining industry as well as grow the mining support base.