PRIDE KASANDA SHOWS HOW HARD WORK AND APPLICATION PAYS OFF
Pride Kasanda is proud to be one of the people who have seen First Quantum’s Sentinel Mine grow from the early days of its commissioning to the present. Kasanda has seen it all. His journey with the mine has been both interesting and challenging.
Born in the small mining town of Kabwe, Kasanda grew up at a time when the mining industry was at its peak in Zambia. During a period stretching from 1904 to 1994, Zambia was Southern Africa’s principal lead-zinc producer, mainly from the Kabwe Zinc and Lead mine. However, in the early 90s the town’s major mine closed down due to its operations becoming uneconomical at that time. In turn, the town of Kabwe went through a major economic downturn owing to its dependence on the mine.
Kasanda’s interest in mining was spurred by his home town’s dependence on the sector when he was growing up. The mining boom in North-Western province further fuelled his enthusiasm.
Kasanda joined the FQM family just when Sentinel mine was starting, as part of the commissioning team. His first role within the mine was in the front-end section, the milling and crushing segment of the mine’s operations, and currently he serves as Plant and Services Coordinator.
He began his journey with the mining giant as an operator working in the front-end section of the mining process which involves both milling and crushing. From an operator Kasanda has risen through the ranks to become a supervisor of a department and with junior employees to train and mentor.
The Plant and Services coordinator says he has been privileged to run what is known as the Lime Dosing Plant or the Effluent Treatment Plant.
The plant is designed to neutralise all the low pH water that is pumped out of the mine in order to ensure that it has the normal pH levels. The other function of the plant is to precipitate the heavy metals out of the water to ensure that it is safe for the environment. FQM ensures that this process is conducted to ensure that Zambia’s environmental development is sustained.
Environmental protection and sustainability are key areas of FQM’s operations in Zambia.
People at the heart of FQM
To deliver on its objectives FQM relies on a capable and engaged workforce. In return, the mine rewards its people and provides opportunities to help them develop and grow. Providing high-quality training is a key attraction and retention tool, and developing professional expertise and leadership capabilities is essential to achieving the mine’s ambitions.
The mine’s investment in human resources development at its Kalumbila and Solwezi units is aimed at developing current and potential employees, with a strong focus on women and youth through specific career development interventions, performance management and development, coaching, mentoring, succession planning, high-potential employee identification and fast-tracking.
The mine’s employees are at the heart of its business in Zambia, and it has continued to harness the skills of the local communities and the rest of the country to ensure a common sense of purpose, while being aligned with how FQM creates value. Kasanda is privileged to have been one of the many of the employees at the mine to have passed through its skills training and skills development programmes, which contributed to his rise through the ranks.
FQM has a dedicated training department based in Kalumbila. It offers services like basic training of operators to more complex training such as advanced software and machinery, safety, and basic operational health.
“FQM prepares its employees for the job at hand to ensure we all have a common sense of purpose and are aligned in how we do things together. By so doing, the mine ensures that it places the right employees in the right roles, and empowers its people to realise their full potential,” Kasanda said.
“FQM has invested quite a lot in skills training and skills development and has basically taken me back to school to help me to apply and upgrade myself to understand the mining industry better,” he adds.
Kasanda is currently a first year student at the University of Zambia studying metallurgy in the School of Mines, all thanks to FQM’s training programmes.
Advice to the young
As advice to young people and students that want to join the mining industry, Kasanda says one needs to be willing to work hard even at an entry level to get to where one wants to be.
“At the grassroots or the entry levels of the mining industry, you have to always be willing and have an interest in what you are doing. It is not always easy, there will be challenges on the road ahead, but with interest and a positive attitude to work, you will get there,” advised Kasanda.
Kasanda is married with three children.