The North-Western Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NWPCCI) has welcomed First Quantum Minerals’ US$1.35 billion investment package in two new projects in the province and says its members are ready to capitalise on the opportunities.
The mining firm recently approved plans to invest US$1.25 billion in its expansion of Kansanshi’s operations in Solwezi – known as the ‘S3’ project – and a final US$100 million to start its $250 million Enterprise nickel project in Kalumbila.
NWPCCI president Mukumbi Kafuta said the chamber expected the investment would lead to social and economic development, not only in Solwezi, and not only in North-Western Province but also in Zambia as a whole.
“FQM being the largest contributor to the national coffers in the mining sector, we are expecting there will a huge chunk, in terms of how much the national coffers are going to benefit. And that will also go towards social services, developing other provincial capitals. The Chamber is very excited,” he said.
Mr Kafuta called on the mining firm to give priority to North-Western Chamber-affiliated companies when awarding tenders during the developmental phase of the S3 and Enterprise nickel projects.
He said that the chamber expected a significant proportion of business will be preserved for chamber membership to benefit, to enhance members’ experience and wealth creation in this region, so the province can see the trickledown effects as a result of the investment.
“The chamber expects that all the tenders that are going to be floated for the S3 project will be floated through the North-Western Chamber because we have a system that is proven; we have an executive team that is committed to ensuring that requisitions are going to be floated to the members transparently.
“We have a huge membership of about 300-plus paid-up members for the year 2022, and among those, we have 75% of the members in the mine supply chain. And these are not only indigenous companies, but companies coming from all over Zambia. We expect that Kansanshi Mining Plc, even as we engage them in the next few weeks, would be able to take advantage of our database, which we know is ready to do business at a higher level.”
“We are expectant that our country is going to actualise the issue of industrialisation, where we are going to add value to our minerals such as nickel; where we will participate in the electric motor vehicle industry, which is now the new thing, as the world is now going green. Therefore, we expect to see the fundamentals of development taking place in North-Western Province and Zambia as a whole.
“The coming of the banks to Solwezi; the coming of the chain stores; and many other developments, have come largely because First Quantum Minerals has made a very significant investment in this region. And therefore, we give them thumbs up, because they are a development partner. They are here as a stimulant to the economic activities that we are seeing,” he said.