FQM says it wants the government to quickly grant title for its controversial 5,100-hectare land in Solwezi, claiming further delay will affect development of an investment economic zone and the town by the mining giant.
Tristan Pascall, an assistant general manager at Kalumbila Mining Limited, a unit of the First Quantum Minerals (FQM) which has sued the Zambian government with respect to Bwana Mkubwa Mine, said the prolonged granting of the title by the government was a growing concern as it presented a risk to the development of the Kalumbila town and the Multi Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ) in Solwezi.
The Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) mid last year ordered FQM to stop developing its Kalumbila mine project until controversial issues surrounding the development of the mines are settled.
The environmental agency disclosed that FQM had acquired 50,000 hectare surface rights without following procedure as they did not obtain presidential consent as required by law.
But Carl-John Collet, an official at Kalumbila Town Development Corporation, said on Tuesday that FQM had reduced the amount of land it has applied for from 6,700 to 5,100 hectares.
The controversy surrounding the Kalumbila land prompted President Michael Sata to constitute a task force to probe the acquisition of the land by FQM for the Kalumbila Mine project in Solwezi after establishing that there were serious irregularities in the manner it was acquired.
“This land is for Zambians. It is not like FQM will come and ship that land away,” said Pascall when commerce minister Emmanuel Chenda toured Kalumbila Mining Project in Solwezi on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Chenda said the government could not afford to delay the development of the multi-facility economic zone in Solwezi as the project would create jobs and revenue for the government.
Chenda said the government would address issues surrounding land title.