First Quantum Minerals (FQM) is saddened by the criticism it has received from Minister of Lands Elijah Muchima and Senior Chief Musele regarding its operations at Trident Mine in Kalumbila District.
During a community meeting with Lands Minister Elijah Muchima and North Western Province Minister Robert Lihefu, Senior Chief Musele of Kalumbila District advised the government not to issue a title deed for Trident Mine as the mining giant has failed to fulfill its initial obligations in the area.
This is after the First Quantum Minerals -FQM-operated Mine applied to the government through the Ministry of Lands and Natural resources to put thirty-eight thousand hectares for surface rights and five thousand hectares for township expansion on title.
Chief Musele says before the Mine started mining, they agreed on constructing decent accommodation for those who were resettled in 2013 to pave way for mining activities.
But in a media statement, FQM Country Manager General Kingsley Chinkuli said Mr. Muchima and Chief Musele’s negative comments had the potential to undermine the new spirit of partnership and investor confidence stimulated by President Hakainde Hichilema since the announcement of FQM’s intention to invest an additional US$1.35 billion in North-Western Province.
General Chinkuli said the mining firm met all legal requirements regarding qualified community members displaced by mining activities in Kalumbila District.
He said the people were fully compensated in accordance with the Resettlement Action Plan signed by the resettled people and approved by the mandated government agencies.
“Despite the challenges that are inevitable with any programme such as this, FQM believes its resettlement work at Kalumbila is a model for other companies undertaking similar community work across the world,” General Chinkuli was quoted by the FQM Media.
“First Quantum Minerals (FQM) has noted with concern the media reports of criticism by the Honourable Minister of Lands Elijah Muchima and Senior Chief Musele. The company noted the historic grievances that were raised but expressed dismay that the remarks had the potential to undermine the new spirit of partnership and investor confidence engendered by President Hakainde Hichilema since the announcement of FQM’s intention to invest an additional US$1.35 billion in North-Western Province made earlier this month,” read the statement from FQM.
“Through its Trident Foundation, the company relocated 597 households when it began development of its Sentinel Mine at Kalumbila in 2013. All legal requirements were fully complied with, and all qualifying community members were fully compensated in accordance with the Resettlement Action Plan signed by the resettled people and approved by the mandated government agencies. Families received an equivalent homestead with land title and were economically empowered. Subsequent concerns from stakeholders should be addressed to appropriate government agencies and the District/Provincial Administration,” FQM stated.
Meanwhile, Mr. Muchima during the community meeting said the government will not ignore the input of traditional leaders in making key decisions regarding development.
The Minister said the government values the input of traditional leaders as they are partners in development.
Mr. Muchima said the government wants local people to start benefiting from the natural resources.