First Quantum Minerals has invested more than US$2 million into wildlife and conservation projects around its Trident Project site and the West Lunga Management Area as part of its pledge to tackle climate change.
And it has called on organisations to come together to promote the sustainable management of trees and forests, which it says is essential in easing the impact of climate change and global warming.
The mining firm said that despite deforestation slowing down over the past two decades, climate change-induced shifts in rainfall and temperature are affecting Zambia’s biodiversity.
FQM, through its Trident Foundation, has invested more than US$2 million in wildlife and conservation initiatives around its Trident Project site and the West Lunga Management Area since 2014.
The schemes have primarily focused on supporting conservation activities on the ground, including recruiting, training, equipping and paying village scouts, infrastructure development and implementing conservation-related livelihood programmes within communities. Recognising the importance of nutrition and human well-being, the approach is two-pronged, combining law enforcement support with agricultural and natural-resource based livelihood programmes. The programme operates with the belief that humans and wildlife can coexist, and thrive, with the right balance.
The mining firm has said that its obligation to preserving biodiversity does not end at the concession fence. In addition to its area of direct environmental impact, there is the broader ecosystem to consider, along with aspects of sustainability that may extend across an entire region. The firm encourages other private sector companies to take ownership and be stewards of environmental conservation near their operations so that collectively they can assist the government to make a large-scale and meaningful difference.
“As we continue with our mining operations at our Kalumbila and Kansanshi mines, we will continue to ensure that we operate in a manner to protect the long-term welfare of the communities where we operate, in an environmentally sound manner,” said FQM country manager General Kingsley Chinkuli.
“This will be done through monitoring relevant environmental parameters to enable early detection of deviation from the environmental management system, as well as working with suppliers and contractors through development of contractual obligations to address indirect impacts associated with its operations.”
General Chinkuli said this after the mining firm joined the rest of the world in commemorating International Day of Forests 2018, which fell on March 21, under the theme, ‘Forests and sustainable cities’.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests (IDF) in 2012. The Day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.
He added: “FQM is ensuring that all environmental management its subsidiaries and projects operate is done in a manner to protect the lasting security of the communities where it operates and in an environmentally sound manner”.
“And this is achieved by the monitoring of relevant conservational parameters to enable early detection of deviations from the system, as well as working with suppliers and contractors through development of contractual obligations to address indirect impacts associated with the company’s operations.”
In the first half of 2017, FQM trained over 7,000 North-Western Province young people in green charcoal making and skills development to mitigating the high deforestation in the country. The training was also meant to curb youths slipping back into unsustainable ecological livelihoods.
The mining firm has also reaffirmed its commitment to adopting and implementing green initiatives, implementing sustainability programmes that promote sound environmental management, and continuous environmental improvement. It has also put in place environmental community outreach programmes by making use of clean technology, waste minimisation, pollution prevention and recycling and promoting innovative ideas that minimise or prevent pollution.
The mining firm was awarded the “Green Award” by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) last June for demonstrating corporate social responsibility that promotes sound environmental management and commitment to continuous environmental improvement.
The mine was also recognised at ZEMA’s 2017 environmental and climate change awards for demonstrating commitment to implementing green initiatives, implementing a strong environmental community outreach programme, and applying effort sufficient to meet environmental standards by making use of clean technology, waste minimisation and pollution prevention.
First Quantum Minerals’ subsidiary Kalumbila Minerals Limited also scooped the Zambia Chamber of Mines’ Best Performer in Environmental Management award for 2015/16 after it demonstrated the finest sustainable environmental management practices and approval rate by host communities and the relevant regulatory body.
As part of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife’s work to enable a complete and functioning ecosystem to support the full range of African mammal species, it has traditionally been home to, a new wildlife camp at Mukambi was handed over to the department in 2016 by the Trident Foundation, supported by First Quantum Minerals.
General Chinkuli said that conservation efforts have extended over time, addressing challenges that often predate development and will require attention well beyond the mine’s lifespan, and this is the far-reaching perspective FQM brings to the Kalumbila mine in Zambia.
The company believes that effective environmental management is a corporate priority and its efforts in conservation are aimed at leaving a positive legacy, knowing it has a duty of care.