First Quantum Minerals backs Zambia’s mining growth strategy

First Quantum Minerals (FQM) has pledged its support for President Hakainde Hichilema’s vision for the future of mining in Zambia, in which he outlined plans to expand copper production and position the country as a major player in the global mining industry.

Speaking at the Investing in African Mining Indaba 2024, where the President gave a keynote address this week, FQM Lead of Infrastructure Development, Jed Goldstein, restated the company’s dedication to fostering sustainable development in Zambia through continued investment in infrastructure, technology, and people, aimed at enhancing operational efficiency and contributing to Zambia’s broader economic landscape.

“Projects such as the S3 Expansion Project at FQM’s Kansanshi mine and the Enterprise nickel mine in Kalumbila underline our commitment to Zambia. We will play a crucial role in contributing to Zambia, through taxes, royalties and employment as well as community development initiatives,” said Goldstein, speaking to the conference’s 2024 theme of ‘Embracing the power of positive disruption: A bold new future for African Mining.’

“The S3 project at the Kansanshi mine represents a major investment of US$1.25 billion and will extend the life of Kansanshi until 2040, ensuring the continued production of copper and other metals,” he said.

Furthermore, FQM’s US$100 million investment to complete the Enterprise nickel mine, once in full production, will be among the top nickel mines in the world. The mine is anticipated to produce approximately 30,000 t of nickel concentrate annually, and employ 700 full-time staff – making Zambia Africa’s top nickel producer. That investment into the project was announced by President Hichilema at the 2022 Mining Indaba.

Goldstein added that FQM contributed K25 billion in taxes to the Zambian government according to the Zambia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (ZEITI) report for 2022, equivalent to 63% of the sector’s payments. The company employs more than 19,000 people at Kansanshi and Trident, primarily Zambians, he added.

First Quantum believes that the renewable energy and electric vehicle transition will drive demand for copper as electrical infrastructure grows to meet demand from global energy markets. “Additionally, Enterprise will produce ‘green’ nickel with a comparatively low carbon footprint, following the signing of a 100% renewable power supply agreement with ZESCO in November 2023,” he added.

FQM is actively working to develop the mineral value chain and promote local content in Zambia by systematically identifying opportunities to increase the quantity of goods and services it procures from Zambian suppliers, while promoting skills training as a key driver for local business growth.

As part of that, the company has promoted the Kalumbila Multi-Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ), aimed at attracting investment and creating opportunities for local businesses. The MFEZ is located within the ‘Lobito Corridor,’ a strategic region for the United States, making it an attractive destination for investment.

FQM’s commitment goes beyond its role as a mining entity, encompassing a comprehensive approach emphasising community engagement, environmental protection, and improved livelihoods. Its community initiatives, totalling US$100 million, have benefited communities around its mining operations.

FQM’s participation in the Indaba underscores its commitment to being a responsible and sustainable mining partner in Africa. The company’s focus on responsible mining practices, its track record of successful operations, and its plans for continued investment make it an attractive partner for governments and investors seeking to develop the mining sector in Africa.