Mopani Copper Mines Plc has been crowned the Mining Company of the year 2016 for the third time in three consecutive years.

This was after the company amassed the highest number of awards at the Zambia Chamber of Mines (ZCM) organised Awards Gala night held at Ndola’s Protea Hotel on Friday, November 3, 2017.

To be crowned 2016 mining company of the year, Mopani Copper Mines Plc received the awards in three of the eight categories competed for by all mining companies in Zambia, namely; best performer in local content 2016, mining personality of the year 2016 and mining woman of the year 2016.

Speaking at the Awards Gala in a speech read for her by finance minister Felix Mutati, Vice President Inonge Wina who graced the occasion commended Mopani for working hard to uphold best practices in the mining industry.

The Vice President also challenged Mopani to play a pivotal role in accelerating copper production in Zambia.

“As government, we want to see Zambia recover the lost opportunity to produce one million tonnes of finished copper and we expect the winners of the Mining Company of the year Award (Mopani Copper Mines Plc) to play a significant role in attaining this target in 2018. To the other mining companies who have not won this important Award, I wish to encourage them to continue working hard and ensure that they learn from their colleagues on how they could do better next time,” Wina stated.

The Vice-President further commended the Chamber of Mines for not only promoting excellence but also recognising best performance in the mining industry by introducing the awarding of Mining Companies.

“I must commend the Chamber of Mines for introducing these awards to promote and recognise best practice in the industry, particularly in promoting mine safety and women participation in the industry. This is as it should be and it is a mark of the good leadership you have shown as a Chamber and the entire team,” said the Vice-President.

And Chamber of Mines President Nathan Chishimba, who was amazed at how competitive the awards had become said the Awards Gala also provided a forum for members to interact and network.

“These awards provide a platform for ensuring that hard work is recognised and appreciated for the benefit of the mining industry. I am happy to note that the awards have become very competitive and they are now being evenly distributed among the mining companies. This is the first time [of the three times we have held the awards] that we are seeing category winners coming from four different mining companies,” said Chishimba.

Meanwhile, Mopani Copper Mines Chief Executive Officer, Johan Jansen expressed happiness that the company’s investments and efforts were being recognised and said that his team was determined to turn Mopani into a world-class mining operation by the year 2023.

“We are set to turn Mopani into a world-class mining operation by 2023, hence, we have invested over US$4 billion in addressing environmental issues such as Sulphur dioxide emissions and site expansion projects in the name of the US$323 million Synclinorium Shaft and the two deeps projects at Mindola in Kitwe and Mufulira that will give our mines another 25 to 30 years life. In order to sustain these investments and ensure that we remain a leader in upholding industry best practices, we have invested over $21 million in establishing a state-of-art Engineering and Mining Training Centre called Mopani Central Training Centre in Mufulira, which also has a Sustainability Development Academy for empowering our contractor employees,” said Jansen.

Mopani’s 10-member mine rescue team also received individual medals for wining the 2017 Mine Rescue Competition.

Mopani Copper Mines Plc earned the same industry-wide recognition in 2015 for the 2014 mining company of the year and also in 2014 at the inaugural award Gala for the year 2013. However, the Chamber did not hold the awards Gala in 2016 for the 2015 mining company of the year.