KCM CEO Steven Din has invited industry peers and development partners to join hands and pool resources to scale up development in the Copperbelt.
Mr Din was speaking during a panel discussion around the theme ‘’Towards Developing the country mining vision – mainstreaming Zambia’s mineral resources for greater economic development’’ at the 7th Annual Zambia International Mining and Energy conference and exhibition (ZIMEC 2017).
Mr Din shared the platform with panelists Simon Njovu, President, Small Scale Miners Association of Zambia; Dr Wilfred Lombe, Independent Consultant; James Blewett, Team Leader, Private Enterprise Programme Zambia (UKAid); and Mayer Ngomesia, from the African Minerals Development Centre.
The session explored the role mining companies can play towards helping diversify Zambia’s economy. Around 70% of Zambia’s export earnings currently depend on copper mining while over 90% of electricity is generated from hydro. Zambia’s economic sustainability in these challenging times, lies in diversifying from copper and hydro, and attracting the necessary investments to strengthen and stabilise the mining sector and increase electricity capacity through alternative sources of renewable energy.
‘’Only in partnership can we realise the sort of scale required to build a vibrant and diversified economic hub in the Copperbelt. I think there’s much we can gain from working together in this effort. That’s why I’m a keen advocate for collaboration and why I think there’s great merit in convening a Copperbelt Initiative to pool resources with the specific aim of creating jobs and scaling up development in the region. We all have a role to play – industry, civil society groups, government and donors. That was the clear message delivered by H.E President Edgar Chagwa Lungu on Wednesday at the launch of the 7th National Development Plan. Together we can achieve more,’’ said Mr Din.
Mr Din also shared KCM’s 50-year vision for growing business in the Copperbelt. The vision extends well beyond mining, to agriculture, tourism, logistics and trade. He shared KCM’s commitment to creating more benefits and wealth for the people living in the region.
”We want to see the Copperbelt grow into a diversified and resilient economic hub. A hub that can sustain livelihoods even when copper prices are low. Our motives for this are not selfless. A thriving community provides us with a competitive edge, enabling us to thrive also,” he said.
In the recent past, KCM has launched several initiatives aimed at supporting the growth of industries and the creation of sustainable livelihoods around Chingola. Among these are the Copperbelt Leather Industry Cluster (CLIC), through which KCM is sponsoring the growth of a sustainable leather industry in the region by supplying entrepreneurs with access to materials, training and market linkages.
Other examples include the livestock programme, through which nearly 800 cattle and 3,000 goats have been given to communities over the past 5 years. A recent addition is Energy the recently launched biodiversity initiative, a pilot project underway with BetterWorld Energy to grow 2,000 Pongamia Pinnata trees on 4 hectares of land for environmental remediation and production of bio-diesel. The project has the potential to create 1,000 jobs as well as show the way in reclaiming mined sites.