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17 Mar 2019

Southern Africa Resource Watch

Report claims First Quantum's subsidiary not benefiting local communities

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"Living in a parallel universe: First Quantum Mine versus Communities in Zambia"


Between March and August 2018, the Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARWatch) undertook two field research visits in Solwezi to establish the social and economic impact of miningactivities on local communities. Solwezi, which is in the North Western Province of Zambia, is host to one of the biggest mining investments in Zambia – First Quantum Minerals (FQM). FQM is a Canadian-based company listed on the Toronto and London stock exchanges, which has majority shares in three mines in Solwezi – Kansanshi, Lumwana and Kalumbila/Trident. This report focuses on Kansanshi Mine. Of the three Solwezi mines that belong to FQM, the activities of Kansanshi Mine are under-reported. Most of the reports on FQM have been on Lumwana and Kalumbila. This report looks into the environmental impact of Kansanshi Mine’s activities, the mine’s corporate social responsibility programme, and problems linked to the relocation of communities.

Mining pollutes, and there are always concerns about how a company is mitigating the environmental impact of its activities on people, water, land, and properties. The communities that surround Kansanshi are rural and mostly agricultural. Land and water are essential to their livelihood. If you disturb access to water or land, you increase their vulnerability. The Kansanshi Mine’s activities have an environmental impact on water and land, and therefore also on agriculture and food security... One of the main concerns for the affected people, who are incapable of fighting against this powerful company, is the non-availability of alternative land for them.