Barrick Lumwana and First Quantum Minerals have invested over US$7 billion in North-Western Province in the last 10 years, a report has revealed.
The report by the Zambia Chamber of Mines (ZCM) indicated that Barrick Lumwana, First Quantum Minerals Sentinel and First Quantum Minerals Lumwana spends a total of K150 million per month on about 20, 000 employees and contractors’ salaries.
ZCM consultant Robert Gentle said the investment had transformed the face of North-Western Province from a town to
“Mining in North-Western Province has boosted economic growth and raised living standards for many to levels that would have been unimaginable 10 years ago. What this report shows is that these mines have unleashed a massive wave of supplier and wage spending, created employment far beyond their gates, and raised the overall standard of living of the general population,” he said.
“An explosion of economic activities began in the province following the investment. The mines in North-Western Province
do not exist in a vacuum; their presence created an opportunity for other sectors including the Agriculture, transportation,
engineering, education and entertainment, to began flourishing,” he said.
Gentle however said there was need for government to institute policies to ensure that the development taking place in the
province remains sustainable in the next 20 years and long after the mines are gone.
“The policy makers in government should use this report; it might spur the commissioning of a more detailed and exhaustive
study into the province’s success. North-Western Province is a test-case for how far mining has come since privatisation started
nearly twenty years ago. It deserves further research. Government needs to develop policies that will ensure that development in these areas is sustainable,” said Gentle.