First Quantum Minerals(FQM) says it has put in place stringent measures to ensure there is no disruption of mining operations at its Kansanshi and Kalumbila mines during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
FQM Government affairs specialist, Godwin Beene said the mining firm has come up with strict preventive measures to fend off the virus and ensure that the two mines continue production.
Dr Beene said the mining firm has a capital project going on which is meant to rump up production and can therefore, not afford to shut down its operations.
“We have put in place stringent measures both at management and individual level that will see us fend off the virus and keep the two mines in operation. We have a capital project going on which will rump up production, so we are not shutting down operations,” he said.
Dr Beene was speaking during the introduction of the new General Manager for Kalumbila Minerals limited Sean Egner to Northwestern province minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu in Solwezi today.
And FQM country manager, Kingsley Chinkuli said FQM’s operations in Zambia remain steady, efficient and productive despite the negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have on the mining industry.
General Chinkuli said despite the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of 2020, the mining firm took a bold decision of keeping operations open as closing the mines would have had a devastating impact on the country’s economy.
“The company put in very tight controls to deal with the threat to keep our workforce and our communities safe. This decision paid dividends as Kalumbila mine hit its highest production and Kansanshi mine performed to its production plan,” he said.
Gen. Chinkuli said the two mines did not record any job losses or COVID deaths that could be attributed to the negligence of management.
Meanwhile, North Western province Minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu urged the mining firm to consider reviewing the scope of participation by local entrepreneurs in the life of the mine.
Mr Mubukwanu said it is the desire of government to see increased participation of local entrepreneurs as contractors since not everyone can be brought on board as formal employees.
He said this will help reduce the unemployment levels especially among young people in the region.
And Mr Egner pledged continued collaboration between his management team and government, saying the success of the mine hinges on sound relationship for the benefit of all stakeholders.