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Increased copper production at First Quantum Minerals’ Sentinel Mine in Kalumbila has boosted business opportunities for local suppliers and created jobs for local people.

Local haulage companies have provided a particularly successful demonstration of the company’s policy of encouraging Zambian-owned suppliers, employing local people, contributing to the national economy whilst boosting Government tax revenue.

The mine, which reached commercial production in 2016, achieved record copper production of 251,000 tonnes last year, 31,000 tonnes more than 2019, meaning a 12 percent increase in business for the local haulage contractors that transport the concentrate for smelting.

Efficient and cost-effective haulage is a key element in ensuring the mine remains profitable in the face of low-grade ore and associated thin margins.

Kalumbila Minerals (KML), the First Quantum subsidiary that owns Sentinel Mine, last year re-tendered its haulage contract, once again empowering local companies to participate in this lucrative work, and which is one of the company’s largest procurement contracts.

“The tender process aims to promote competition within certain markets, obtain the best pricing available and to afford numerous entities an equal opportunity to supply certain goods or services to KML,” explained First Quantum’s Zambia Country Manager General Kingsley Chinkuli.

While the transporters are local companies – Zambian companies owned by Zambian citizens – they also exemplify the contributions brought to Zambia by naturalised settlers who have built sustainable businesses that create local employment, pay tax and boost the economy, he added.

The two locally-owned trucking companies re-contracted by the mine – Buks Haulage (BHL) of Solwezi and JC Bousfield (JCB) of Chingola – between them move 90,000 tonnes of concentrate from the mine every month using a fleet of 135 trucks driven by local drivers.

BHL, which is 100% Zambian owned, and run by Zambian citizen Buks van Rensburg, operates a fleet of 300 of its own trucks with a further 300 sub-contracted from other Zambian companies. BHL employs 1,000 local people.

JCB is owned by the second-generation Zambian Bousfield family of Chingola. All of its 500 employees are Zambian citizens.

A third major Zambian haulier successfully serving other parts of the Zambian mining sector is Mining Haulage Ltd (MHL) of Kitwe. MHL, which scoops up a great deal of sub-contracting work from the other Zambian hauliers, is owned by former Deputy Minister of Mines and Mineral Development, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, and Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and Child Development Richard Kazala-Laski, whose late father Walter Kazala-Laski started the company, having immigrated to Zambia from Poland.

“KML supports and promotes the participation of local businesses for all its tenders. The nationality of the bidders is not the only consideration when awarding contracts. The ability to deliver a quality service at a competitive price is critical, but KML is delighted that the 2020 concentrate haulage tender was awarded to two well-established Zambian citizen-owned businesses in accordance with Zambia’s Citizens Economic Empowerment Act No. 9 of 2006,” said General Chinkuli.

“KML is totally committed to ensuring a level field in its tender process; bids are adjudicated objectively, freely and fairly,” he added.

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