MINING SUPPLIERS LOG IN TO NEW CONTRACT WEBSITE
FQM and the Musele Chamber of Commerce in North-Western Province partnered to launch the site to publicise opportunities for North-Western Province businesses, enabling them to meet safety and operational requirements and to qualify for contracts.
The online membership database portal will display tenders posted by Kalumbila Minerals, which operates the Sentinel Mine.
And the new online facility at www.cocmusele.com drew praise from North-Western Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which applauded First Quantum Minerals’ subsidiary Kalumbila Minerals for taking a leading role in helping boost trade with the new.
NWCCI president Josephine Makondo said organisations from around the world have moved away from the traditional way of doing business, and Zambian companies and bodies are no exception, adding that in today’s world, a website was one of the most important parts of a business.
Ms Makondo said that NWCCI attached great importance to the creation of the website as the benefits of creating a digital footprint were critical for any organisation that wanted to remain relevant in the modern business world. “North-Western Province is one of the provinces that have a lot of potential to become an economic hub in Zambia and the region as a whole. As the chamber in this province, we believe we can use different media to help us facelift the province, and one of these is the website,” she said.
“FQM’s support has been exceptional and we can only hope for continued backing in order for us to continue enhancing the business environment and create a better place where people in business can grow for sustainable development,” said Ms Makondo.
In 2017, the Trident Foundation brought in government agencies to formally register over 80 companies from Musele chiefdom. The candidates were selected after an organised village-level roadshow with Musele Chamber of Commerce. The foundation offered business formalisation, training and selected micro-loans to local entrepreneurs.
“Our policy for local business development is understanding the importance of developing local businesses around the Trident project and the overall importance of business for Zambia as a whole. We need to enable entrepreneurs to become business people, small businesses become bigger businesses. There are two things that we focus on and that is developing business and building capacity through the training courses we give. We want to improve the skills of the local businesses,” said Kalumbila Minerals Limited’s assistant general manager Meiring Burger.
Mr Burger explained that the vision of Kalumbila Minerals was to actively work towards sustainable, transparent and responsible economic and social development, by positively contributing to supply chain development and capacity building for businesses within the host communities of the Trident Project, adding that the mining firm was committed to giving a reasonable, equal, and fair opportunity for local businesses to participate in the company’s supply chain. “Sound business is supported by transparency and good governance. That’s part of what we want to achieve with the website. This website will support us in getting transparency in the whole interaction and relationship between the mine and our local business communities,” he said.
“We have come a long way, but still have to increase the capacity, increase the skills level, because we want our suppliers to become competitive, not just in Kalumbila. They must be able to operate competitively on the Copperbelt and further in the rest of Zambia. Our wish for our local businesses is to not just be locally competitive but compete nationally.” The mining firm however said that it would not compromise on quality, delivery, service, safety, the environment, or any other technical requirements, and that sound business principles and good governance would underlie all transactions.
Requirements would be communicated in a transparent manner on a platform suited to provide equal and fair opportunities, and that it also valued integrity, transparency and consistency and aimed to uphold these values, it said. “No business can continue without support, but from our commercial department side, we will keep on progressively identifying, purchasing and putting out contracts for local businesses, as long as it is competitive and competent. But we will make sure that we support you in becoming competitive and competent,” Mr Burger told chamber members.