First Quantum urging all citizens to be vaccinated

In support of the Zambian government’s efforts to raise vaccination rates in the country, First Quantum Minerals is  urging all citizens to be vaccinated.

The TSX-listed copper, gold, and zinc producer based in Zambia, has clarified Covid-19 vaccination practices at its Kansanshi and Sentinel mines in Solwezi and Kalumbila, respectively.

The protocols are designed to encourage all workers and contractors to be vaccinated while still respecting the right of everyone to choose whether or not to get vaccinated.

The company will require those working in close proximity to others to be vaccinated. Only those who are vaccinated will be permitted access to the company’s recreational facilities, in a move similar to the Covid-19 passes mandated by governments in many parts of the world, the company says.

“Our aim is to increase vaccine coverage of our workforce to mitigate the severity of illness during this fourth wave, so as not to overwhelm the medical facilities in the area.

“Unvaccinated employees and contractors will still be able to access the mine facilities and to work; the only requirement will be to present a negative polymerase chain reaction result every time they are away from site for more than 72 hours,” says Kansanshi Mining GM Anthony Mukutuma.

The approach is in line with government’s efforts to stem the tide of Covid-19 and its most recent Omicron variant, with strong calls for citizens to get vaccinated.

More than half of employees have been fully vaccinated across all the company’s sites, with 5 517 of the 10 149 total headcount vaccinated. Kansanshi Mining leads the field, with 65% of employees fully vaccinated, while about 36% of Kalumbila Minerals’ workers have opted to receive the jab.

“Globally, there is very compelling evidence that the death rates are way down in countries with high vaccination rates. The World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics show a drastic reduction in death rate, particularly when the population is about 80% vaccinated. Our target as a mine is to achieve 80% or better,” says Kalumbila Minerals GM Sean Egner.

“Colleagues, the Covid-19 battle is personal for all of us and our families. It is my, your and our duty to get vaccinated and be part of the surviving humanity. Covid-19 vaccines are easily accessible and provided free by the government through the Ministry of Health.

“I call on you all to consider vaccination, discuss it with your colleagues, friends and family. The benefits are well documented and there is substantial scientific evidence supporting the programmes. Please consider the sources of information and make an informed choice that will protect you and your family as well as our community and business,” Egner says.

“While the Covid-19 pandemic remains of great concern across the globe, President of the Republic of Zambia Hakainde Hichilema remains resolved and committed to the Covid-19 fight in order to preserve the lives and livelihoods of all Zambians,” says Zambia Health Minister Sylvia Masebo.

“This commitment is at the highest level of government, as demonstrated by the establishment of the office of the presidential adviser on Covid-19. As you heard in his address to the nation on New Year’s Eve, our country has not been spared by the ravages of Covid-19, but the President remains resolute and calls on all of us to remain so resolved in 2022,” she says.

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