First Quantum Minerals Limited (FQM) manager general Kingsley Chinkuli has welcomed government’s decision to lift the ban on freight and goods vehicles driving at night.

In a statement today, Chinkuli stated that the amendment to Statutory Instrument (SI) 76 of 2016 would improve the operations of the mining companies.

“The Government’s decision to revise this SI by giving mining industry freight vehicles the exemption they require to move around the clock is hugely welcome,” Chinkuli stated.

He explained the ban on the night-time movement of freight and goods vehicles had severely hampered the mining company’s operations.

“As a company, we have noted that when transport systems are safe and efficient, they provide economic and social opportunities and benefits that result in positive multiplier effects, such as better accessibility to markets, employment and additional investments. And what is good for First Quantum, is good for Zambia.”

He stated that the move would maintain the company’s contribution to the national treasury.

“We commend the government for revising SI 76 of 2016 following their extensive consultation with the industry last year. Given the mining industry dependency on robust and reliable logistics, this move will ensure the company’s contribution to the nation’s treasury is maintained,” stated Chinkuli.

FQM produces around half of the country’s copper and between its Kansanshi and Sentinel mines; some 40-50 truckloads of copper concentrate and at least 30 truckloads of finished copper travel on the Solwezi-Chingola road every day.

First Quantum Minerals have invested US$5.7 billion in its Sentinel mine and the Kansanshi mine and smelter, and has paid more than US$3 billion in taxes in the last twelve years, transforming the economy of North-Western Province and creating direct employment for more than 8,500 people.