Investment in skills training will increase employment levels and improve operations of the mining sector in Zambia, says Chamber of Mines of Zambia chief executive officer Maureen Dlamini.
Ms Dlamini said there was need for government and other stakeholders to take interest in building resources of skilled labour by encouraging training to service the sector to increase job opportunities for the locals.
“There is need to upgrade skills training to improve resource base in the mining sector to increase capacity of the mines in Zambia,
“The Chamber of Mines of Zambia has set up what it is calling ZAMSET – meant to focus on coordinating the mining sector in collaboration with tertiary institutions to close the gaps created due to absence of specified labour required in mining,” she said.
She explained that there was a disconnect with what was coming out of the universities and colleges and what the industry required.
She said ZAMSET would provide information to the schools on what skills were required in the long term and it would create a constant flow of skilled labour on the market to prevent external sourcing of man power.
And Ms Dlamini said the same could be done with the capacity of the local suppliers who mostly could not meet the quantities and quality of services and machinery requirements by the major mining companies in the country.
She said many contractors lack capacity to provide the required services and equipment to meet the huge demands by the companies.
She said local contractors needed to improve their capacity to enable them encourage partnership with the various mining conglomerates operating in the country.
She said this would affect the levels of employments opportunities provided in the mining sector including in the induced employment sector which could be as a result of direct beneficiaries from the sector.
“Most of these contractors are small scale and we are looking at how we can create opportunities for local suppliers to grow to the levels the mining sector require,” she said.
She was speaking during the two days media workshop organised to encourage communication between various stakeholders including government, the Bank of Zambia (BoZ), Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA, )Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the mining companies.
Ms Dlamini said the workshop was meant to bring stakeholders together to discuss better ways of creating a database that should bring consistency and constant flow of information to the government, the mines and all concerned organisations.