Zambia National Service (ZNS) will in two months’ time commence the setting up of a USD 15 billion dollar copper smelting plant in the Kabompo district of North Western Province, Zambia National Service Commander Lieutenant General Maliti Solochi has disclosed.
Lt Gen Solochi said the Government has already secured the funds from China for what is expected to be the largest copper smelter in Africa and cannot wait to commence works on the project.
Special Assistant to the President for Policy Compliance, Mr Joseph Lungu says President Hakainde Hichilema’s agenda is to transform people’s lives through enhanced economic activities and improved livelihoods.
Mr Lungu says the establishment of the smelter in Chief Sikufele’s Chiefdom will see the creation of a community development trust that will enable residents of the area to directly benefit from resources generated from the plant.
“It is important that projects such as this one are allowed in your community in order to break the cycle of poverty,” the Special Assistant to the President said.
The two were speaking at an interactive forum with some residents of Kabompo, led by their village headmen, yesterday in the Kapona area.
The ZNS Chief disclosed the project is expected to commence before the end of this year and that it will run side by side with a robust agricultural production venture the Service will also establish in the same District.
He further revealed that the project will be a joint venture with some Chinese investors.
On the other hand, Mr Lungu assured the residents that the Government will ensure employment opportunities are first given to the local people in line with President Hakainde’s thrust of attracting businesses that positively impact the lives of those living in areas where they are situated.
The two allayed possible fears that residents could be displaced as a result of the planned investment, stating that the project once implemented will help to support continued productivity extension services.
Meanwhile, Kabompo District Commissioner, Mr Albert Chinyanga and area Council Chairperson, Mr Makayi Presley both expressed delight at the prospect of such a huge investment being set up in their District.
The duo asserted that the project will not only enable ZNS to contribute to the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but will also bring development to the area and create many employment opportunities for the locals.
And residents have overwhelmingly welcomed the project saying it is going to bring about improvements in their lives.
Senior Chief Sikufele’s representative Mr Caphas Kathongo Sitenge said his Royal Highness together with the majority of the headmen and residents were anxious to see the commencement of the project.
20,000 hectares of land have been allocated to ZNS to set up a smelting plant and engage in agricultural production.
By: Anthony Dube