Former Ministry of Mines Permanent Secretary Dr Godwin Beene has been appointed Country Manager of First Quantum Minerals in Zambia, taking over from General Kingsley Chinkuli, who will continue with the company on an advisory basis.
Dr Beene served as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines from January 2009 to November 2011 during the Rupiah Banda led MMD regime.
According to Solwezi Today website, previously working as Government Affairs Specialists at FQM, Dr Beene has helped forge the path to positive, steady relationships between the government and the mining industry, offering vital support to outgoing FQM Country Manager General Chinkuli.
Analysts say Dr Beene, the President of the Zambia Chamber of Mines, is well-equipped for the job at hand, bringing to the table both industry expertise and the necessary familiarity with government operations and structures.
Dr Beene has since emphasised that the mining industry, though oftentimes at the centre of controversy, is the lifeblood of the Zambian economy.
“It is an honour and a privilege to be given this opportunity to run the Country Office of such a great company, which is also Zambia’s largest taxpayer with contributions to the national treasury exceeding US$5.6 billion. My role will be to work with the teams both at our Kansanshi and FQM Trident mines in a proactive manner to improve and maintain a good and constructive working relationship with the government, other industry players, and all stakeholders directly or indirectly affected by our mining operations, while safeguarding the interest of First Quantum Minerals Limited. Being familiar with how government structures operate is critical for this job. In addition, it is important to appreciate the operations of NGOs and CSOs, and how their mandates and operations influence public opinion of the industry and the government’s fiscal regime policy. The thrust is to win greater support from these organizations for the company and the industry in general,” said Dr Beene.
Dr Beene further said that hugely-important enablers to the sustainability of the Zambian mining sector are stable policies and a competitive tax regime.
He strongly advocates skills without borders to allow specialist skill sets simply not yet found in Zambia to come in and up skill local technocrats, train graduates and prepare them to take engineering positions in any mine in the world.
“I am always excited when I hear our Zambian technocrats moving to operations elsewhere as this demonstrates how well we train them here in Zambia. As they leave, we receive freshers and train them. I think this is a good thing” says Dr Beene.
Dr Beene explained that if a mining firm’s investments are properly and intelligently marshaled, the sustainability of the communities is a direct spin-off.
FQM in particular has invested heavily in the communities, in which it operates, and this has included improving access to quality health care by building health posts, sponsoring HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention programmes as well as agricultural improvement initiatives, community infrastructure development, gender equality programmes, and wildlife protection.
Dr Beene attained his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at Swansea University in the UK, in 1981.
In 1981, he joined the then-largest hydrometallurgical plant in Africa, Nchanga Tailings Leach Plant, as a graduate metallurgist. He rose to the position of Senior Assistant Metallurgical Engineer in 1984.
In the same year, he benefited from a two-year Beit Trust scholarship and returned to his alma mater as a research fellow to study for an MSc degree.
In January 1988, he was awarded a PhD in Chemical Engineering, after completing his thesis in the field of Surfaces and Colloids by developing a model to predict the behaviour of a mineral system under a prescribed environment.
Dr Beene is also credited as one of the founders of the modernised Engineering Institute of Zambia.
A valuable Zambian asset, for sure.
Congratulations to him. It’s not easy to serve as President of the Chamber of Mines. He wasn’t under siege from members of the public as compared to his predecessor. The Chamber has lost a formidable leader, however, if it’s for his good I wish him well in his new position. I want to see Zambians like him found mining companies that work for a salary. We have Zambians manage big corporations but don’t own even a single one. That’s why Sixtus has made a difference
I am sure he is being rewarded for helping FQM escape punishment during Lazy Lungu’s corrupt regime because any proper govt would have hit FQM with hefty punishment and fines.
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