Zambian-owned logistics firm Quattro Company has become the latest local business to benefit from the increase in productivity at First Quantum Minerals’ Sentinel Mine in Kalumbila.

The company plays an important role in the mine’s smooth operation, running a fleet of buses to ensure miners arrive safely and on time for their shifts.

“One of the most important objectives in every mine is maximising production which in turn leads to higher revenue. This cannot be achieved if the workforce is crippled by a transportation system that prevents them from getting to their workstations on time,” said Quattro Operations Manager Japhet Kachandi Banda.

He added that Quattro’s partnership with FQM has enabled it to expand its operations, creating more employment opportunities for local communities.

“Quattro wouldn’t be what it is today without the support of large companies like FQM. We have grown to be one of the largest transporters in the local mining sector thanks to the partnerships we have cultivated with multinationals. As a result, we have been able to grow our fleet and employ more people,” Mr Banda added.

FQM Government Affairs Specialist Dr Godwin Beene said the long-term economic growth potential in North-Western Province should not be viewed through the prism of mining alone, noting that FQM’s presence had led to the emergence of new businesses and expansion of existing ones such as Quattro.

“First Quantum’s commitment to operationalise its local procurement policy to maximise the long-term secondary economic development in its area of operations creates a perfect synergy with other sector players, providing a multitude of opportunities for local businesses,” he said.

Dr Beene added: “Quattro is providing logistical services to FQM’s Kansanshi and Kalumbila mines – two of the biggest mines not just in Zambia, but the African continent, which is a fantastic achievement for a Zambian-owned company.”

Over the last decade, North-Western Province has grown into the ‘new Copperbelt’, producing nearly 50 percent of the country’s copper.

And by close of 2020, Zambia, Africa’s second-largest copper producer had seen a 9.45 percent increase in copper output compared with 2019.

The Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development attributed this growth to increased overall output from the country’s mines – driven by rising prices for the red metal.

If sustained, this growth could prove a catalyst to the country’s quest to revive a mining industry struggling under the strain of COVID-19 and waning commodity prices before the recent upswing.

Anecdotal data shows that eliminating basic operational bottlenecks like sluggish shift changes for miners is critical to maintaining the sector’s positive momentum in increasing mining activities and copper production, especially with declining ore grades.

FQM believes that when transport systems are safe and efficient, they create socio-economic opportunities that benefit the value chain through better access to markets, employment, and additional investments.

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