Zambia’s largest mine, First Quantum Minerals (FQM) Limited, has disclosed that it is 100 percent compliant in paying the Environmental Protection Funds (EPF) to Government.
The mine has since urged other mining companies to pay the EPF on time to allow Government to address environmental challenges in the country.
FQM’s Environment Manager Kachiwala Sapalo says environment is a highly sensitive subject for the mine especially environmental degradation.
Mr. Sapalo was speaking during the 3rd Environmental Protection Dialogue (EPD2022) in Lusaka organized by Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) under the theme: “Strong Actions for Environmental Sustainability”.
He was confident that Government would continue supporting FQM’s efforts in contributing to the security of the environment where it was operating.
“The protection and conservation of the environment takes centre stage in all our operations inclusive of mining and metal production processes. We collaborated with CEJ in sponsoring the EPD 2022 event because we realize that we are not alone in dealing with issues concerning the protection of our environment,” he said.
The FQM Environment Manager appreciated the efforts of traditional leaders, church leaders, and Government in environmental protection.
“It is gratifying to see co-oporating partners stand with the public sector to find common solutions in respect of a number of burning issues affecting the environment and communities and how best we can remedy the situation,” he said.
Mr Sapalo advanced that the EPF was important in providing remedial measures to help safeguard the future, safety and sustainability of the environment, its natural resources which was required in restoration in the face of economic and mining activities.
“FQM has endeavored to contribute by being up to date with the EPF. We do pride in this. We are optimistic that as like minded players as possible will follow suit. Where possible, we call for the establishment of Environmental Protection Funds dedicated to local catchments so that the security and welfare of the local ecosystems and surrounding environment generally can be guaranteed,” he said.
Mr Sapalo aired that the Environmental Protection Dialogue was strategically important on FQM’s annual calendar specifically for creating opportunity where collective concerns were shared and resolutions made.
“We feel it is important as a stakeholder that all of us must put our hands together in supporting this important initiative in order to sustain the efforts of the Secretariat of CEJ. If we join our efforts and doing so on time with a view to come up with a long term strategy for sustaining the EPD initiative, it will become easier and effective to implement most of the resolutions and actions that we agree on moving forward because all of us here are interested,” he said.
Mr Sapalo reiterated that the EPD was useful to resolve environmental issues collectively.
“At least we are glad that apart from sharing our perspectives, we encourage one another. This helps us, particularly, as mining companies to remain as concerned as possible and work towards achieving common goals for the sake of the integrity of the environment and national development,” he said.