FQM Trident Limited Human Resource Manager Brighton Mwiinga has revealed that the company plans on setting up a Nickel Mine in Kalumbila district which will create about 239 direct jobs

And Mwiinga says COVID-19 has negatively impacted the mine, revealing that since the onset of the pandemic, the mine has lost about 74,800 man-hours mainly due to employees being ill or in isolation.

Meanwhile, FQM Environmental Manager Kachiwala Sapalo says the company remains committed to environmental protection.

Speaking through the company’s Superintendent employee relations Arnold Shabolyo, during the opening of a media information sharing, Wednesday, Mwiinga revealed that resources for operational preparedness for the oncoming mine had been deployed.

“It is anticipated that with the oncoming of Nickel Mine at Sentinel, at Trident, we are going to have about 239 direct jobs that are going to be created. Some of these might be sourced internally. Like I mentioned, we do internal recruitment but ultimately it will have to impact the market because we have to replace certain skills. If we recruit internally, we have to replace that with the external labour recruitment. So we have a direct impact of about 239 job opportunities which is a great contribution to the economy. For mining activities to happen, there has to be operational readiness, that has to happen even before the mining happens. At this point what I can confirm is that there are resources that we had to rely on internally even before we start recruiting externally,” he said.

“We have got internal resources that can be shared with the enterprise, those that can provide certain specialties, for example, geologists. We have geologists on the copper mining side, which can also be shared or assigned to the other side. So we have resources that have been deployed right now in terms of operational preparedness. Then the other factor that we need to be aware of is that the enterprise mine will not operate as an independent infrastructure. There are certain facilities that will have to be shared. For example, engineering infrastructure, processing capabilities, and so on. So certain things are already in place but in terms of the actual launch or commercial production launch, obviously, that’s a thing that has to undergo certain approval processes.”

Mwiinga cautioned those seeking employment against being victims of employment fraudsters.

“Obviously you know that the labour market is quite fluid and there is competition that is happening every day. We do poach from one another and we will not shy away that we have lost some employees to other companies and we cannot stop that because it is within their employment rights. Equally, for us we take that as an opportunity to resource for new skills, innovative talent to come on board. What have we done to date from January as a company, we provide equal and unbiased opportunities for all. We provide guidelines on how people do get employed with FQM Trident Limited,” he said.

“We are aware about unemployment that exists in our society and that makes people susceptible to fraudsters. There are employment fraudsters that have been on the market. If you look at our advert, as members of the media please sensitize the public, FQM as a company not just as Trident Limited does not ask for fees or any solicitation of payment for someone to be listed for employment opportunities. Employment comes as a free privilege for those that qualify and compete favourably.”

And Mwiinga said COVID-19 had negatively impacted the mine.

“Our productivity has been impacted, that we cannot shy away [from] as a result of illness, direct illnesses on our employees, close contacts which might lead to isolations for precautionary purposes. So we lose man hours when such things happen. So, in short, we have none availability of manpower when there is anybody in the circles whether employees or family members that are stricken by Covid. As a direct demonstration, from the onset of Covid up to December last year as a mine, as Trident, we lost 74,800 man hours. That is how much time people were taken away from work directly as a result of being in isolation or hospitalised,” he said.

Meanwhile, the company’s Environmental Manager Kachiwala Sapalo said the company remained committed to environmental protection.

“As a mine, we consider ourselves as stewards of the environment. The concept of steward is where you are taking care of something on behalf of somebody. All our operations take into consideration potential environmental impact that would arise. All our operations go through processes so that we take into recognition what the impact would be, what the controls will be, how we will holistically operate. What governs our sustainability – we are obviously guided by the laws of the land. In addition to that, from our top management perspective, we have given the highest commitment to safeguarding the environment. We have declared an environmental policy that actually internally prescribes higher standards than the laws of the land,” he said.

“There is a new trend in the environmental space, everybody is talking about reducing greenhouse emissions. And so [we] are well-positioned as FQM and we have set ourselves targets on how we will achieve decarbonization, on how we will achieve green mining. So in 2020 as the FQM group, all the energy that we used came from renewable sources. Meaning that we did not use fossil fuels that will later on release greenhouse emissions. So as a group we have set ourselves an ambitious target, we have said come 2025 we will reduce further our greenhouse emissions by 30 percent and then by 2030 we will realise a 50 percent reduction.”

Sapalo said as the world transitions to the use of electric cars, the company would support the transition through increased copper production.

“We have heard a declaration of Europe saying by 2030 they will be using electric cars. As First Quantum we are saying we are well positioned to fuel that change. Copper is a metal that is required for a green economy. Copper is key to that transition and what we are saying is that we are well positioned to align ourselves and make sure that we drive the change that the world wants to see. How are we going to do that, your vehicle has about 20kg of copper through the electrical and everything. The new electric vehicles will contain about 50kgs of copper. Already you can see the demand has almost doubled. So FQM has put Zambia on the map because we are saying we are up for the challenge in this transition, we are looking to ramp up our production going forward,” said Sapalo.