Three mining companies operating in Solwezi district, an emerging mining town in north western province contributed a total K30 million to the local municipality for various developmental activities in the district, a report said, citing Town Clerk Ronald Daka.
The payments remitted to the municipality between June 2012 and 390 June last year was in form of annual business fees and property rates, the Times of Zambia reported citing areas Town Clerk, Daka who spoke recently during the dissemination of the Zambia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (ZEITI) 2011 fourth reconciliation report at a workshop held in Solwezi.
“As the council, we received K30.9 million between June 30, 2012 and June 30, 2013, which we have applied in various areas at the local authority,” Daka said.
Part of the K30.9 million was used to purchase the earth moving equipment for the roads which cost the local authority a total of K12 million, K4.5 million was used to build an office block, while K1.6 million went towards compensation at Kabitaka, with K2 million having been used to purchase motor vehicles for the council. However, the council did not do well on the road network in townships, but pledged to do a good job this year and even after projects had been done, the council was faced with high expectations from the people, but that still faced challenges in project implementation, the paper added citing Daka. ZEITI project administration officer Kaonga Mazaba praised the council for accounting for the money it received from the mines and that the EITI was happy that SMC was able to account for the funds which it received from mining companies. “It is a plus for ZEITI to have the council explain how it utilised the money it received from mining companies. It is good for the council to account for the money it received from the mining companies was used so as to instil investor confidence,” Mazaba said.
The mining companies operating in Solwezi are First Quantum Minerals’ owned Kansanshi and Kalumbila project and Lumwana mine, all which have turned the area into a “version of the” Copperbelt’ owing to the abundance of various mineral resources, chiefly copper and gold.
Meanwhile Barrick Gold owned Lumwana Mine in Solwezi invested US$400,000 into a four-year community agriculture programme expected to benefit 1,000 small-scale farmers in North-Western Province. Community Relations superintendent Harrington Kanema said in Ndola that under the initiative, Lumwana provides $100,000 to small-scale farmers annually for capacity building to boost productivity.
Kanema was speaking in Ndola during a plenary session at the just-ended third Zambia Alternative Mining Indaba under the theme, “our minerals, our future, putting local communities first. The main focus of this programme is to empower small-scale farmers with funding for them to access equipment to support farming both in the crop and livestock sectors. Since the programme started, we have witnessed growth in dairy farming, rain-fed wheat growing, banana farming and the growing of Irish potatoes,” he said.
Kanema said the company had also supported other schemes such as the promotion of irrigation farming and market access through a revolving fund that was in the last few years has grown from $250,000 to $500,000. “The company started the Agric Food Innovation Programme with an investment of $250,000 to provide loans through a micro-financing institution to support local farmers. The micro-finance company also contributes their own share to this package which also seeks tolink the farmers to entities that would provide ready market for products such as vegetables and milk,” he said.