A US$2 million (K12 million) community work programme by Lufwanyama- based emerald producer Kagem Limited has been launched to develop community projects in the area.
Kagem and Gemfields Chief executive officer Ian Harebottle said last year Kagem announced plans for a significant investment to improve the livelihoods of the people of Lufwanyama.
“We are now putting that vision into action in partnership with all our stakeholders, and education and health are key components of that vision, along with the conservation of our shared environment, “he said.
Mr Harebottle said the company’s motivation was to benefit the people of Lufwanyama, and by extension improve the well-being of its workers, their families and the community in which the Kagem emerald mine was located.
“Kagem’s approach to its community development projects aims to ensure maximum impact through a long-term sustainable strategy which listens to the needs of local people and works hand-in-hand with community leaders, central and local government, non-governmental organisations and local residents,” he said.
Mr Harebottle said the company’s focus was on alleviating poverty and was aligned with Government policies, objectives and targets as well as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Vision 2030.
He said Kagem has spent more than K3 million on CSR projects, including provision of a ZESCO power line, new buildings at Chapula Basic School, teachers’ accommodation at Kapila Community School, improvements to Chief Nkana and Chief Lumpuma’s palaces, the Nkana clinic, and the ‘Blessings’ and ‘Green Farm’ projects.
And Acting president Dr Guy Scott who launched the programme said such was a serious investment to develop a new secondary school at Chapula and upgrade of Nkana Health Centre in Lufwanyama district.
Dr Scott said the company’s commitment to community projects and the even greater amount that it pays to Government in taxes, dividends and royalties each year should be commended.
“Kagem is a model collaboration that is 75 percent owned by London-listed Gemfields plc, in partnership with the Zambian Government, which owns the other 25 per cent,” he said
Kagem board chairman William Nyirenda said the company’s support for education had numerous benefits to develop literacy levels and enhance productivity to improve the contribution of young people to society and their families.
Mr Nyirenda said Kagem was aiming at uplifting the learning environment for both pupils and teaching staff, thus also providing a pool of educated workers for future employment at the mine.