Community celebrates return of Bwana Mkumbwa land

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The Government has praised First Quantum Minerals (FQM) for empowering 338 of its employees, local traditional leadership, the community and the government through ownership of land at its former Bwana Mkubwa mine in Ndola.

The return of land this week set an industry benchmark in the rehabilitation and closure process of facilities such as Bwana Mkubwa as they reach the end of their mine life.

Bwana Mkubwa was opened in 1902 and is the oldest copper mine in the Copperbelt. FQM took over the site in 1996 to reprocess the existing tailings stockpile. That operation was completed in 2008 and the company commenced remediation and repurposing of the site.

The land was allocated in parcels to government and to the traditional leadership, with an additional portion sub-divided and allocated to employees by the company following a rigorous allocation process.

Speaking when he received the 135 hectares of land on behalf of the beneficiaries, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Hon. Elijah Julaki Muchima, said the donation made the mining firm stand out among its peers and that the donation would address the pressing land issues in the area.

“I would like to express my gratitude to First Quantum Minerals Limited and the Board of Directors for the bold decision taken to gift land to its employees and the government. What we commonly know about First Quantum Minerals is the good things it does in Zambia and for the Zambian people.

“It is a big employer for sure; a big taxpayer, and our own economy is actually dependent on First Quantum. Big in corporate social investment. Part of the social investment is what we are witnessing today. Big in doing business with local suppliers and local businesses,” said Mr Muchima.

Speaking at the same event, Bwana Mkubwa Member of Parliament Warren Mwambazi thanked the mining firm for giving land to local people.

Mr Mwambazi, however, warned beneficiaries not to engage in illegal land allocation.

“There should be no illegal land allocation. And we are asking the Ministry of Lands that once we are given this piece of land, it be quickly surveyed and put on title. We don’t want anyone going on another person’s land,” he said.

FQM’s Kansanshi Mining Corporate Affairs Manager Kyansenga Chitoshi, speaking on behalf of Kansanshi Mining General Manager Anthony Mukutuma’, said the mining firm’s people-focussed policy allowed it to appreciate the contribution over the many years that Bwana employees have made to the group.

“Some of the recipients of the land today don’t work in Ndola anymore, but their many years of contribution have been recognised, even though they have been posted to other operations across Zambia.” she said.

“Not everyone knows, but FQM, the mining giant that exists today, was born right here at Bwana Mkubwa, and nobody in the company ever forgets where we started. Today, FQM has many operations across the world, across continents, and many shareholders around the world. So, Ndola holds a very special place in FQM’s history because this is where it all started, at Bwana Mkubwa,” she continued.

FQM retains the certificate of title holder of a 99-year lease in two other plots where the Bwana Mkubwa Mine is located, together with the surrounding areas.

Part of the surface rights area remains under the control of non-FQM small-scale mining licence holders, of whom two actively continue to undertake material recovery and mining on the under their respective mining rights with the specific consent of FQM for access.

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