Improve on Social Responsibility-Mining Companies in Zambia challenged

Mining Companies should strive to ensure that they commensurate their investment in communities they operate to allow locals benefit from the corporate social responsibility, says deputy mines minister, Richard Musukwa.

Various companies in the private sector have to date invested over US$220 million in various communities where they operate. Mining companies have contributed US$99 million of the total in various social responsibilities, according to the chamber of mines in Zambia.

Recently, Kagem, a subsidiary of Gemfield Resources Limited donated US$1 million towards infrastructure development in Lufwanyama district where the company is mining gemstones and other precious stones as a contribution to bettering the welfare of the people.

The projects include rehabilitating and building new health centres, schools and other amenities as a “Give back” gesture to the people of Lufwanyama that host the mining company.

However, former general manager for the chamber of mines Frederick Bantubonse recently noted that the ‘give-back’ gesture by mining companies depended on how particular companies managed to set aside based on the profitability of their projects from which a share of it could be ploughed to respective communities.

Musukwa said it is important that the mining companies operating in various communities should improve their investment in corporate social responsibility (CSR) to benefit the local people and improve their welfare.

Speaking in Kitwe recently on the sidelines of the Mining Expo organized between the Canadian mining companies and the Chamber of Mines in Kitwe, Musukwa noted that current investments in various communities where mining companies operate are not getting a fair share of their investment.

In a statement, Musukwa said mining companies with huge investments in the country should give something tangible to better the welfare of the local people to promote their corporate social responsibility as opposed to merely drilling boreholes and giving out cattle to co-operatives.

And mines and energy deputy minister Christopher Yaluma has commended the Canadian Embassy in Zambia and the Chamber of Mines in Zambia for organizing the just ended forum as it will help the mining companies to take stock and evaluate their projects in various communities where they serve.

It was the Government’s desire that mining companies continued to demonstrate their commitment to the development of communities where they operate as part of the development of the social sector.

The Government further believes that mining companies should strive to ensure that in the interconnected global economy that exists today, the long term profitability and sustainability of business was directly related to the integration of environmental, social and governance issues into corporate policy and management.

In speech read on his behalf by Musukwa, Yaluma noted that mining companies particularly copper mining companies was the cornerstone of the Zambian economy and it is in the interest of all stakeholders that the industry operates profitably while recognizing the need for social responsibility.

As a Government we are hopeful that that we shall continue to attract foreign direct investment and thereby improve the welfare of the Zambian people,”

Since the privatization of the mining and copper sector in Zambia in the late 1990s, various mining companies-local and multinationals have in total invested US$8 billion in old and new projects that has since raised the copper output in Africa’s rich copper country to 0ver 800,000 tons per annum from 250,000 produced in the early 1970S.

It is envisioned that by 2016, copper production in Zambia will increase to about 1.5 million tons per annum as most of the projects come on stream. Among the major projects expected to come on stream include the US$2 billion sentinel-Kalumbila copper project under First Quantum Minerals Limited.

First Quantum Minerals Limited, Vedanta Resources Plc., Barrick Gold, China’s Non Ferrous Metals Africa Corporation (NFCA) and Glencore Xstrata are among some of the multinational companies operating in Zambia.

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