Eight Community Forest Officers have graduated from First Quantum Minerals Forest Resource Protection Programme to enforce the law, create awareness and promote ecologically-based business opportunities in Lualaba and Bushingwa National Forests neighbouring its Sentinel Mine in Kalumbila.
[theGazette, Mon Nov 23 2020] Eight Community Forest Officers have graduated from First Quantum Minerals' Forest Resource Protection Programme to enforce the law, create awareness and promote ecologically-based business opportunities in Lualaba and Bushingwa National Forests neighbouring its Sentinel Mine in Kalumbila.
The mining firm has made it a top priority to build strong partnerships to ensure that it identifies and implements opportunities to improve the conservation of biodiversity, achieve best practice in biodiversity management and identify ways to contribute to conservation in areas where it operates.
The objective is to avoid deforestation due to the pressure on the forest resources in these catchment areas. The mine brings in job opportunities and other business opportunities, which lead to an influx of people into the area, adding pressure which extends into the forest resources.
People will produce more charcoal because the market has been created. They will harvest more mukwa for housing purposes because there is a high demand for houses. That in itself creates demand for natural resources, and if we do not get involved as a mine, we are going to see deforestation move faster than it was on the Copperbelt when the old mines started their operations there, explained FQM's Trident Foundation Community Affairs Manager Joseph Ngwira, during the graduation ceremony of the community forest officers.
The occasion was graced by His Royal Highness Chief Musele and the District Administration official from the Forestry Department who will be driving the programme in partnership with the mine.
Mr Ngwira further said that there will be a huge community benefit if natural resources are used sustainably.
We are not simply blocking anyone, but what we are supporting is to ensure that there is sustainable resource utilisation by bringing in other intervention measures and other income-generating activities that make the communities appreciate the value of the forest resources.
Our approach is to promote ecologically supported business opportunities that will help with value addition and enhance value chains so that there is a benefit that will trickle down to the locals. We are working together with government in the spirit of the First Quantum's values of working together: bolder, smarter, driven, together, he continued.
Speaking at the same event, Chief Musele passionately talked about First Quantum's support for natural resources management, giving an example of the successful wildlife management programme where animals are now returning to the area; and support for conservation of water resources. He thanked the mine for its support.
He highlighted why forest resource management is important, recognising that his chiefdom would not be there had his ancestors not conserved natural resources, adding that there should be a balanced relationship between a stable eco-system and services provided such as water, as well as products such as food and construction material.
2020, the mining firm through its Kalumbila mine handed over the Ntambu Community Game Reserve to Chief Ntambu's chiefdom of Mwinilunga District in North-Western Province to establish conservation-based economies around the West Lunga Management Area. The game reserve is the only community-owned game reserve in Zambia wholly-owned and managed by the community, which also has total wildlife user rights.
First Quantum Minerals, through the Trident Foundation, has invested over $4.5 million in conservation activities in and around the West Lunga Management Area since 2014.
The mining firm's environmental strategies are based on the need provide an economic value in the country while running its
business in a socially and ethically accountable way, as well as ensuring lasting and sustainable developments
About First Quantum Minerals Ltd
First Quantum Minerals Ltd is a global metals and mining company producing mainly copper, gold and zinc. The company's assets are in Zambia, Spain, Mauritania, Australia, Finland, Turkey, Panama, Argentina and Peru.
In 2019, First Quantum globally produced 702,000 tonnes of copper, 257,000 ounces of gold and 18,000 tonnes of zinc.
In Zambia it operates the Kansanshi mine - the largest copper mine in Africa by production - and smelter and the Sentinel mine in Kalumbila.
The company is listed on the Lusaka and Toronto stock exchanges.
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