Some 50 young local haul truck operators have secure jobs at First Quantum Minerals’ Sentinel Mine at Kalumbila thanks to an innovative Chief’s training programme spearheaded by Senior Chief Musele.
The programme is aimed at giving individuals with no experience of operating mining equipment or vehicles an opportunity to expand their knowledge base while enhancing their overall competence and skills in operating some of the largest mining equipment not only in Zambia but the world.
“We had great successes in training as well as in subsequent performance in operations, and resulting from that a lot of the initial trainees have moved onwards through the progression pipeline, and are now operating Komatsu 860Es and 960Es, which are some of the largest trucks globally. Based on that initial achievement, we kept on with the programme and continue to do so today,” said Mine Operations Manager Rees Magrath.
Mr Magrath explained that the comprehensive skills development programme is helping to improve operations in the mining firm’s projects, boost its workforce, and provide more jobs to local people.
“It’s a project that we are proud of and I think it is something that the Training team need to be highly commended for. The project team through the Trident Foundation went into our local community, engaged with the local leadership and managed to source our pilot team of young people from the region.”
“We are now over two years into the programme and we have successfully brought on board about 50 new operators that otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity. We are very glad that they took the opportunity that was made available and they are contributing to our mine operations today,” he continued.
The company is an equal opportunity employer and embraces Zambia’s diversity. It has put in place measures that help to provide suitable employment opportunities to local community members through a local recruitment database established with traditional leaders.
“We are expanding that programme into the Mine’s drilling and tracked dozer fleet and ultimately offering the opportunity for people to come through, consider a career in mining, look at the growth potential and develop themselves here at Sentinel with the view to move onwards onto our large shovels and ultimately into supervisory and management roles,” he said.
Development of the local economy in which the mining firm operates is a key priority identified during the on-going dialogue with local communities. Opportunities for employment for locals exist from increased demand in the new Kalumbila town and the skills that can be provided competitively for mining.
First Quantum believes that direct employment is one of the key benefits a mine delivers in terms of social and economic impact. Skills training, entrepreneurial programmes and efforts to foster local economic development are also vital for long-term sustainable prosperity.