Official creditors assure Zambia financial support through IMF program – Mwebantu
ZAMBIA officially began its journey to become a key player in the new global electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem this week as President Hakainde Hichilema launched the Enterprise nickel mine in Kalumbila.
Once operational, the First Quantum Minerals mine will be the largest producer of this strategic metal in Africa. Nickel, like lithium, cobalt and copper, is an essential component of the batteries essential to the new era of “green” vehicles.
Designed to process 4 million tonnes of ore and produce around 28,000 tonnes of nickel per year, Enterprise will provide around 700 permanent jobs while making Zambia the continent’s largest nickel producer and the 10th largest producer of the highly sought-after ore in the world. world. world.
“I would like to thank First Quantum for the decision to invest $1.35 billion in the expansion of Kansanshi…and to raise additional capital for Enterprise,” said Chairman Hichilema at the groundbreaking ceremony of the mine.
“This $1.3 billion investment will create direct and indirect jobs somewhere in the region of 18,000; and in this country, dear colleagues, one job supports 10 other family members in the home or extended family. So if you do your math correctly, 18,000 by 10 is 180,000 people benefiting. This is where the value lies. So thank you First Quantum,” he added.
“This project will help raise revenue to the treasury which we as a prudent government will use in part to buy a desk for a child who is sitting on the floor today, munokumvwa mwane?
“This [nickel] is the future of our country, to a large extent. This is where this country needs to go and it needs to explore these resources in a sustainable way and bring value to our people,” he said.
“And we are fortunate as a country to host a fair share of these minerals. But if they stay in the ground, we don’t fix projects like these, we don’t unblock projects like these, we won’t be able to play our part in keeping our world cleaner and reducing the environmental damage that we know the consequences very well,” he continued.
Less than three months ago, FQM announced the company’s US$100 million investment in the project at this year’s Mining Indaba, where President Hichilema welcomed the investment and reaffirmed his desire to see more partnerships like this that would transform Zambia into a hub for development. and securing the country’s place in the electric vehicle (EV) battery ecosystem.
The nickel processing plant, which was completed in 2016 and received environmental approval, has remained in care and maintenance condition pending favorable market conditions since then.
Today, with the global push for a green energy transition, growing demand for metals like nickel that are integral to change, and a favorable new mining regime, the time has come for nickel mining finally launched.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, FQM CEO Tristan Pascall said: “If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that stability is paramount. As key players in an industry where geopolitical security is so important, the hard work that Zambia has put in to protect that peace and stability does not go unnoticed. Zambia is certainly a prime investment destination for us.
“With over a quarter century of experience under our belt, we appreciate the importance of working hand-in-hand with stakeholders and aligning with government mandates. Soon to be our third operation here, Project Enterprise is on our books, a vote of confidence from – and for – the Zambian government and the Zambian people. It’s a vote of confidence in our transparency, accountability and operational excellence. »
“We have been ready to make such an investment for a long time, but we are waiting for the conditions to be met, both in terms of the country’s mining policy and the global minerals market.
President Hichilema, who has repeatedly presented himself as the country’s chief marketing officer, has made harnessing Zambia’s advantageous business environment to develop and diversify the mining industry a number one priority.
“The new administration’s assurance of a more stable and transparent investment environment, intolerant of corruption and governed by environmental, social and governance best practices was the boost of encouragement we needed for this new project,” said FQM Zambia Managing Director Kingsley Chinkuli. .
With the opening of this new operation, the president has secured more jobs, more income, and more opportunities for residents to benefit from local procurement spending and corporate social investment.
This leap forward in securing Zambia’s participation in the electric vehicle battery market will not only shift the country’s economic dependence on copper, but will also open up new business and innovation opportunities in the nickel value chain.
(CREDIT: Langmead & Baker Ltd)