The government has commended First Quantum Minerals for the work it is doing in ensuring that not only its employees and their families, but communities around its projects in Zambia benefit from the positive impact of its mining activities.
The government has also noted that the mining firm’s social and economic development interventions it has been undertaking, are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, a move that puts the company at the forefront of best practices in private sector social investment locally and globally.
Speaking during the handover of a completed water reticulation facility at Weighbridge clinic in Solwezi District in North-Western Province, Solwezi District Commissioner Tradeson Mulofwa said the mining firm’s Corporate Social Investment programmes are also in line with the policy and aspiration of the Government.
The water reticulation facility consists of a borehole with electricity operated submersible pump, a 5, 000 litres PVC tank, a tank stand,
mud filter, a mineral filter, and a security fence.
The facility aims to complement government efforts to increase access to clean and safe drinking water in communities in the District.
“I am fully aware that Weighbridge Clinic has had no water since 2017 when it was opened. Patients coming to the clinic were either asked to come with water or drink medicine from their homes.
This project resonates with Sustainable Development Goal number six, which seeks to ensure that all people have access to readily available and sustainable management of water and sanitation,” he continued.
He further said that the water facility brings many benefits to the institution as well as to the community and that the availability of water will enhance good health and healthcare provision.
“As you are aware, safe and clean water supply reduces diarrheal diseases such as dysentery and cholera. According to the World Health Orgnisation report of 2017, almost 1.6 million people died from diarrheal diseases globally. This is a report that causes concern to all stakeholders,” he said.
FQM’s Kansanshi Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Bruce Lewis said the facility will make a huge difference in the lives of the people in the communities surrounding the clinic.
“It must be really difficult to run a clinic with buckets of water, or even no water. So, I’m quite convinced this is going to make a real and big difference to the lives of the staff here,” he said.
Solwezi District Health Director, Dr Lengwe Chipili said that over 18,000 people living in communities surrounding the clinic will benefit from the water reticulation project.
“This project is going to improve the quality of service we provide. We know that where there is water, there is life, and not only life, but where there is water, there is proper hygiene.
So, not only are the people at the facility going to benefit but even the 18, 312 who stay around this clinic are also going to benefit from this project,” he said.
First Quantum believes access to safe, clean water is the number one priority for community development. Water is a basic human need, and should always be prioritised over other forms of development work. Despite current economic challenges, the company has prioritised its budget to focus on this basic need.