Kagem Mining Limited, Zambia’s leading emerald miner has donated US$1 million to Lufwanyama district in Ndola rural as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility.
Kagem Mining said the social investment of US$1 million will be used in among other ventures, upgrading of a clinic to hospital status, construction of a new secondary school in the area as part of the company’s commitment to improving the livelihoods of the people in the communities in which it operates.
The company – which is pioneering the concept of ethical gemstone mining – is also stepping up its tree planting initiative and is investing heavily in the back-filling of mine excavation works in order to protect the environment.
“Kagem Mining is committed to working with all our stakeholders to improve the livelihoods of people in the communities in which we work. Education and health are key components of that vision, along with the conservation of our shared environment,” a statement availed to Mining news Zambia said citing Kagem Mining Limited Chairperson William Nyirenda.
During a recently held stakeholders’ consultative meeting at Lufwanyama Council Chamber, Kagem stated that under a two-year social investment scheme, approved by the Kagem board in January 2014, the company will fund and construct a four-ward building at Nkana Clinic and add three nurses’ accommodation blocks, turning the facility into a “mini-hospital” at a cost of US$250,000.
It is the company’s commitment to construct a complete US$700,000 new higher secondary school at Chapula and provide sports equipment to the existing primary school there. The company is motivated to benefit the people of Lufwanyama, and by extension, improve the well-being of its workers, their families and the wider community in which the emerald miner is located.
“The extension of the clinic will give people improved access to more advanced healthcare facilities at local level, lessening the need to travel farther afield for more complicated medical attention. It will provide dedicated male, female and children’s wards, as well as a maternity unit, and will allow for 24-hour patient care” Nyirenda added.
Kagem’s support for education has numerous benefits, the company adds. It seeks to develop literacy levels, enhance productivity and good health, and improve the contribution of young people to society.
Kagem aims to improve the learning environment for both pupils and teaching staff, thus also providing a pool of educated workers for future employment at the mine.
The company’s approach to its community development projects aims to ensure maximum impact through a long-term sustainable strategy which listens to the needs of local people and works hand-in-hand with community leaders, central and local government, non-governmental organisations and local residents.
Kagem Limited’s focus is on alleviating poverty and is aligned with government policies, objectives and targets as well as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Vision 2030.
Accordingly, Kagem, as part of its social responsibility programme in the community, has spent K3 million on CSR projects, including provision of a ZESCO powerline, new buildings at Chapula Basic School.
It also spent on upgrading and building teachers’ accommodation at Kapila Community School, improvements to Chief Nkana and Chief Lumpuma’s Palaces, the Nkana Clinic, the Blessings and Green Farm projects and paid for road upgrading and maintenance.
On the environment, the miner initiated a zero-carbon project to offset the carbon generated by its operations globally.
A tree nursery has been established, tending some 100,000 tree saplings in collaboration with the Forestry Department under the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.
Maintaining the environment is an on-going process for Kagem and its mining operations adopt an in-pit dumping method by which excavated rock and soil are used to back-fill previously mined sites, ensuring the mine footprint and environmental impact are minimised.
“The ethical approach is all part of Kagem’s strategy to be at the forefront of developing the international market for Zambian emeralds by investing in exploration, mining, sales and marketing in order to develop a competitive, reliable and trusted source of ethically produced gemstones that buyers can rely on” the company added.
Meanwhile, Kagem Mining Limited Chief Executive Officer, Ian Harebottle said the company is the flag-bearer of the Zambian gemstone sector, and one of the finest examples of what can be achieved in partnerships between government and foreign investors in the mining sphere.
“Our triple bottom line approach is a vital part of that, as we work to ensure maximum returns for all stakeholders in terms of financial, economic, social and environmental returns.” He adds.
Recently, the Chamber of Mines in Zambia disclosed that to date, mining companies operating in the Southern African state have contributed US$99 million.
This is out of a total US$220 million so far contributed by various private sector organizations operating in various parts of the country ostensibly to compliment the Government in social obligations.
Kagem Mining Limited, operating in Lufwanyama district is part of the Gemfields group of companies, a leading gemstone miner listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange (ticker: ‘GEM’).
Gemfields owns 75 percent of the Kagem mine in partnership with the Zambian government. In July 2009 Gemfields commenced a formal auction programme for its Zambian emeralds. To date, Gemfields has held 14 auctions which have generated revenues totalling US$224 million.
Additionally, to the Kagem emerald mine, Gemfields has a 50 percent interest in the Kariba amethyst mine in Zambia. The company also owns controlling stakes in highly prospective ruby deposits in Mozambique and various licenses in Madagascar including ruby, emerald and sapphire deposits.
Gemfields is the world’s foremost coloured gemstone producer, and is found at the intersection of exploration, mining and marketing. Natural gems are at the heart of the operation.
Its focus – reliable and ethically-produced Zambian emeralds – upholds fair-trade practices while remaining in accordance with the highest level of environmental, social and safety standards.
This mission holds true for every gemstone in its portfolio. Gemfields’ unprecedented mine-to-market strategy through transparent partnerships with the world’s leading coloured gemstones dealers and manufacturers allows it to guarantee the provenance of every gem: Its promise to both the trade and the consumer.