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Developer inspects expansion project progress

COBRE PANAMA MINE The FQM Cobre Panama mine is one of the largest new copper mines opened globally

KANSANSHI MINE There has been notable progress on the ground at Kansanshi mine in during the development of the S3 expansion project

17th May 2024

     

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Copper developer and miner First Quantum Minerals (FQM) is progressing its development of the S3 expansion project, in Zambia, with a total investment commitment of $1.25-billion.

The majority of the investment is earmarked towards expenditure this year to ensure the entire project is completed by the middle of 2025.

To inspect progress made on the project – which entails an expansion of the mine pit and the mining fleet that services it, as well as the construction of a new processing plant and a major expansion of the Kansanshi smelter – CEO Tristan Pascall personally visited Kansanshi earlier this year.

Commenting after his site inspection, Pascall said he was pleased to see the level of progress on the ground at Kansanshi.

“It’s great to be at Kansanshi, and to see that the S3 development work is progressing on the ground according to plan,” he added.

The S3 expansion project is intended to extend Kansanshi’s mine life as a significant asset into the 2040s, increase copper production to more than 200 000 t a year, while continuing to drive economic development and provide jobs in Zambia.

FQM has recently raised $3.3-billion as part of a comprehensive refinancing package and put in place a copper prepayment arrangement, to ensure continuation of the S3 expansion in the face of disruption to its Cobre Panama mine, in Panama.

In addition, the company has extended its debt facilities through to mid-2027, providing the pathway to deliver on its commitment to Zambia with the S3 expansion.

Promoting Economic Development

FQM has reaffirmed its dedication to fostering local economic development through enhanced procurement strategies and supplier capacity building.

In line with the government’s drive to support local businesses and communities, FQM is prioritising local procurement initiatives and actively engaging with local suppliers with the aim of facilitating the growth and expansion of local industries, and driving economic diversification and industrialisation in the region.

Further, FQM’s commitment to these goals was underscored by a recent visit to the company’s Trident project site by senior representatives of the Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM), which included the ZAM president Ashu Sagar, board members and the ZAM CEO Muntanga Lindunda.

“It's evident that FQM shares ZAM's goal of developing local suppliers and propelling Zambia's manufacturing forward. We look forward to further engagement with FQM and we are confident that future initiatives will bring tangible benefits to our members and significantly elevate the manufacturing sector's contribution to Zambia's GDP,” said Lindunda.

FQM's local procurement strategy is aligned with the Zambian government's Industrialisation and Job Creation Strategy.

FQM reports that it has already achieved significant progress, with over 70% of its procurement spend going to Zambian suppliers.

FQM infrastructure development lead Jed Goldstein highlighted the many opportunities available, for example, within the Kalumbila Multi-Facility Zone (MFEZ), and emphasised the commitment to supporting, promoting and enhancing local businesses in that zone.

"Our employees continue to travel to Solwezi for basic necessities, reflecting the lack of essential services in Kalumbila Town. The potential for economic growth in Kalumbila and North-Western province goes beyond mining,” he added.

Sagar believes that a site such as the Kalumbila MFEZ will produce many benefits for the Zambian mining, manufacturing and business industry.

“After touring the Kalumbila MFEZ, I am convinced that it represents a significant opportunity for the future of manufacturing in Zambia. This world-class town offers immense potential not only for traditional mining suppliers but is set to become a hub for manufacturing, thanks to the transport linkages currently under development,” he said.

"We believe that local procurement is essential for the sustainable development of Zambia. By investing in our suppliers, we are creating jobs, stimulating the economy, and reducing our reliance on imports. By sourcing goods and services locally, First Quantum aims to stimulate economic growth, create employment opportunities, and foster sustainable development within the regions where it operates,” enthuses Goldstein.

“Kansanshi, and Zambia, in general, have been the mainstay of our mining activity for the last 20 years, and will be just as important to us for the next 20.

“We’ve had to adapt ourselves to unforeseen circumstances over the last few months, but we’ve met challenges before, always finding a way through and coming out stronger,” said Pascall.

Completing the S3 expansion on schedule, he states, is a priority for FQM, and the actions it has taken recently put the company in a strong position to do just that.

“I look forward to my next visit here, to see this project through to its completion,” concluded Pascall.

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

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