Economic diversification away from mining is tantamount to the sustainable economic development of Zambia and First Quantum Minerals (FQM) believes secondary economic development is central to the long-term development plan of Kalumbila Town in Senior Chief Musele’s chiefdom and surrounding areas.
A Multi-Facility Economic Zone covering Kalumbila town is pending implementation and stands to remove barriers to business and encourage Zambian entrepreneurship to undertake various business initiatives as the Sentinel Mine, and the town which so far has 1,200 families all needing goods and services, is intended to be the trigger.
To further encourage secondary economic development, FQM – Kalumbila Minerals Limited (KML) through Trident Foundation, recently engaged Fortune World of Solwezi to undertake various business training programmes aimed at equipping the local people with entrepreneurial skills.
One of the local residents, Howard Mutambakyalo, who attended the training programmes by Fortune World said he was motivated by Kalumbila Minerals Limited’s decision to engage the local people to acquire business skills.
Mutambakyalo said in an interview in Kalumbila that, following the training sessions, he was a proud director of a security company called Mukoleku Security Services which is offering security services to Kalumbila Mine.
He said Mukoleku Security Services has employed 62 guards and acknowledged the positive developments that were emerging in the area due to the commitment by KML of empowering the local people.
Mutambakyalo said it was relieving that KML is providing a platform for the entrepreneur to develop their business ideas and in turn creating employment opportunities outside of KML’s employment capacity.
“We are extremely happy that Kalumbila Mine has come to our area and while they are doing their mining business, they have also extended their corporate social responsibility programmes to us. We are now doing business which will in turn bring good results through helping our families and orphans in our communities,” he said.
Another entrepreneur, Christopher Sondoyi who runs Chrisferry Contractors and General Suppliers said KML had transformed his way of looking at issues because of the knowledge he has acquired which has put him on a strong footing.
Sondoyi, who specialises in landscaping and preparation of conservation farming demonstration fields, said he felt empowered through learning how to conduct business after attending the training programmes which were packaged by Fortune World.
He said what KML was doing to the local people of Kalumbila was commendable and the best would be to reciprocate by supporting all the initiatives the mining company was coming up with and by carrying out work competently.
“We all start from somewhere and what is happening here in Kalumbila through the help of Kalumbila Mine is something we did not expect. I am now qualified in landscaping, thanks to Kalumbila Mine and the best to do is to ensure that we offer the best service to the mine. We definitely need to support them,” he added.
Luwi Cleaning Solutions manager, Monde Sitali said the company which started as a club for local women who were resettled, was now a fully-fledged firm which has employed 134 employees drawn from the local communities.
“We are happy that we have come up with something tangible as the women are being empowered through various business activities and the beauty is that all the workers are drawn from within the Kalumbila community,” Sitali said.
Trident Foundation Manager Garth Lappeman says it is the vision of FQM that these businesses grow and are able to provide services to other investors in Kalumbila town and the rest of Zambia so that when the mine eventually closes, the businesses would be able to continue to run profitably.
“We believe our mine has the potential to trigger enough secondary economic development that in two or three decades this area will be an active economic hub in Zambia, and the region.
“Many investors focus so much on the mining companies that they limit themselves from other opportunities and markets. Mine employees have significant spending power, and large demand for goods and services exist in Kalumbila town,” he said.
Lappeman said, currently most of the goods and services were being supplied by companies in Solwezi and the Copperbelt and hoped that eco-tourism, construction, agriculture, manufacturing and other industries would be stimulated enough by an enabling investment environment in Kalumbila. – Feature courtesy of SUMA SYSTEMS.