FQM TRIDENT TRAINS 15 LOCALS IN METALLURGICAL ENGINEERING
KALUMBILA, ZAMBIA – In its quest to ensure the availability of critical skills within the business, First Quantum Minerals through its subsidiary FQM Trident Limited has trained 15 of its local staff in metallurgical engineering at the University of Zambia.
“This programme will support metallurgists in designing new processing plants, overseeing metallurgical operations in an efficient and effective manner as well as conducting research and development to maintain and improve existing processes by bringing new ideas that will help in developing new processes for the mine,” explained Scott Luonde, Senior Metallurgist at the processing plant at FQM Trident.
The programme is a Senate-approved programme, which has a strong bias towards training students in metal processing technologies and adaption of metals for various engineering applications.
The first cohort for the certificate in metallurgical engineering started in June 2020 with 15 employees who were recommended by FQM Trident to take an on-site class with UNZA lecturers who came to the mine in Kalumbila to offer the programme.
All the 15 employees graduated with a certificate in metallurgical engineering at the 51st University of Zambia Graduation ceremony in April 2022.
In line with its sustainability strategy, the company is dedicated to developing its employees so they can excel in their current and possible future positions. This is realised through promoting equal opportunities at all levels of the company and enforcing a strict policy against all forms of discrimination while respecting employees’ right to free association and collective bargaining.
“We targeted our outstanding employees and upskilled their knowledge based on their plant experience so that they can understand more technical aspects,” added Mr Luonde.
Lecturers conduct 14 days of residential classes at the beginning of the programme, followed by online classes and further residential courses are conducted towards examinations.
The programme is ongoing and currently, FQM Trident has recommended 16 more employee students for the second cohort of certificate in metallurgical engineering at UNZA on full sponsorship.
Copperbelt University also offers a certificate in mining engineering to FQM Trident employees under the same conditions as UNZA and last year, 15 students graduated under CBU and 15 more are in the second cohort and looking forward to graduating next year.
“It is good to see that this programme is bearing fruit, and results can be seen. Some of the people that have been on this programme have been appointed to senior and supervisory positions within the establishment. Others have been appointed in semi-management positions.
FQM Trident Ltd Senior Specialist for Learning & Development, Cindy Mwiinga, says the company is deliberately targeting female students in order to change the narrative that mining is a male dominated field.
“FQM believes that a company is only as strong as its people, and we don’t want to leave anyone behind, so we want to bring on board as many women as possible. A productive workplace is vital to the success and sustainability of every company and we value the input of all,” Mrs. Mwiinga.
First Quantum Minerals is an equal opportunity employer and embraces Zambia’s diversity. It has put in place measures that help to provide suitable employment opportunities to local community members through a local recruitment database of community members established with traditional leaders, and a local baseline census.