FQM INVESTS $2M SO FAR THIS YEAR ON COMMUNITY PROJECTS IN SOLWEZI
SOLWEZI, ZAMBIA – First Quantum Minerals (FQM) through its Kansanshi Foundation, has stepped up its campaign to end poverty, fight inequality, and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind in the communities where it operates. The mining firm has in the last seven months invested more than US$2 million in health, education and livelihoods programmes in communities around its Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi to ensure current needs are met and inspire lasting solutions. Kansanshi Foundation sustainability manager Bruce Lewis said the company had aligned its community initiatives with every one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a move that put it at the forefront of best practice in private sector social investment locally and globally.
“Among some of the priority areas we are focusing on are health, agriculture, local business development, infrastructure and wildlife and conservation. And these projects now play a key role in nurturing growth of the communities neighbouring FQM’s Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi,” explained Mr Lewis. “A responsible company supports the health and well-being of its employees and the communities where it operates. The challenge lies in finding the right balance between immediate clinical care and longer-term education and prevention,” he said. Education is a key competent of the foundation’s work, and it has spent US$113,000 this year on school text books and more than US$9,000 on school desks, with US$39,000 spent on scholarships.
Conservation farming, with crop rotation and sound agricultural practice, has helped farmers under Kansanshi’s community support projects to avoid the scourge of Armyworm. The mining firm has spent over US$94,000 on training farmers to farm using the more efficient techniques since the beginning of 2018. More than 5,000 farmers are trained and supported by the conservation farming projects surrounding the company’s Sentinel and Kansanshi mines in North-Western Province. They took delivery of seed and fertiliser inputs early in the season and are now hopeful of a bumper crop. In conservation farming, crop rotation and sound agricultural practice schemes have helped farmers avoid the scourge of armyworms.
The mining firm sees progress as a matter of weighing long-term aspirations against immediate practical goals, while working to balance the responsibilities of today with its vision for tomorrow.
“In the last seven months the foundation has also spent US$470,000 on road rehabilitation and maintenance, recognising the transport sector as an important component of the economy and a common tool used for development, with a clear relationship between the quantity and quality of transport infrastructure and the level of economic development,” said Mr Lewis. A further US$750,000 has been spent on training and development as part of its sustainability and community development programmes aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Local business development support has cost over US$51,000 so far this year, while US$75,000 has been spent on boreholes. Between its two mines in Zambia: Kansanshi in Solwezi and Sentinel at Kalumbila, FQM has spent more than US$43 million on sustainability and community development programmes since the mines were opened, with the overall objective of its socio-economic development programmes is to improve the quality of life for its employees, their families and their immediate communities.