First Quantum Minerals Limited (FQM) handed over approximately 517 hectares of land to various recipients, including the government, Chief Chiwala, the community, and its employees. The land handover comes as part of FQM’s exit plan following the closure of its Bwana Mkubwa mine site, where it had been conducting mining activities since the 1990s.
Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Elijah Muchima, presided over the land handover ceremony in Munkulungwe Ward of Bwana Mkubwa Constituency. Expressing gratitude, Minister Muchima commended FQM for its decision to provide land to the community and its employees. He revealed that his ministry would be sending surveyors to demarcate the land for the 338 employees who will receive 114 hectares.
Copperbelt Minister Elisha Matambo also lauded FQM for empowering its employees with 135 hectares of land, emphasizing that the company’s gesture demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of its workforce. The land allocation of 106 hectares to Chief Chiwala will further contribute to the development of the local community.
FQM Country Manager, Godwin Beene, reiterated the company’s belief in putting people first. In his address, he urged the recipients not to waste the land and emphasized the significance of responsible land management for the benefit of all stakeholders.
During the ceremony, FQM Immediate Past Country Manager, General Kingsley Chinkuli, appealed to the recipients to use the land appropriately to bring prosperity to the community. The land distribution also included allocations of 116 hectares to ex-servicemen, 10 hectares to the NGO called ZAPA, and 36 hectares to Kafubu Water.
Minister Muchima issued a stern warning against any illegal land allocation and stressed the need for proper land management. He emphasized that surveyors would analyze the land, and those engaging in unlawful activities could face serious consequences.
The handover of land by FQM has been met with enthusiasm and appreciation from the community and local representatives. Bwana Mkubwa Member of Parliament, Warren Mwambazi, expressed hope that the land handover would help resolve land wrangles in Munkulungwe Ward. Minister Matambo highlighted the importance of prioritizing the well-being of the people as FQM surrendered its land to the government and Chiwala Chiefdom.
In addition to the land allocation, FQM Country Manager, Dr. Godwin Beene, emphasized that the company was also preserving certain heritage sites in the area, showing their commitment to environmental and cultural preservation.