…let’s walk together
By Steven Din
The mining industry in Zambia has been an integral part of the country’s economy for more than half of a century.
It continues to serve as a great source of employment and a generator of vital foreign exchange earnings.
According to the World Bank, mining accounts for 12% of Zambia’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and 70% of this nation’s total export value today.
At Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), we are proud of our contribution to the country’s economy, but we take nothing for granted.
We know that we must grow at the same rate as other international mining firms if we are to remain competitive.
To do so requires us to focus keenly on our productivity.
Last month I announced KCM’s new Path to Growth strategy. Our goal is to deliver 400,000 tonnes of integrated copper production within the medium term.
That’s a tall order, but with the right partners and the appropriate technologies I’m convinced we will achieve this.
Ramping up production is the only way to create and sustain jobs in the Copperbelt and improve livelihoods.
KCM has introduced new business partners into the supply chain. These partners have been selected based on their proven ability to innovate across multiple dimensions of the mining value chain.
They will introduce new technologies and new pieces of mobile equipment to help our employees improve productivity in 2018.
Outsourcing certain specialised activities to business partners or contractors is the model we have selected to drive growth and enhance productivity at KCM.
It will result in new ways of working and the transfer of new skills to KCM staff over time.
There will be no loss of jobs as a consequence of this.
Partnership-driven models are increasingly attractive to me and other industry leaders.
They afford us the chance to build a future-fit business faster than we could alone.
It’s a practice that has been championed at Coca-Cola for more than a century.
Since the 1880s, Coke’s business model has been structured on outsourcing.
The Coca-Cola Company sells concentrates, beverage bases and syrups to bottling partners who then manufacture, package, merchandise and distribute branded beverages to vending partners, who in turn sell them to consumers.
On the supply side, Coke has never owned a sugar plantation but instead outsources the task to partners who provide the sugar the Company needs to make the concentrate it sells.
This outsourcing model has enabled Coca-Cola to become an undisputed world leader in marketing, while the company’s partners focus on meeting the demand which the Company’s marketing creates.
Meanwhile, across the Coca-Cola value-chain, there’s a common language and a pride that comes from working with the best.
At KCM, we have already identified the right technical partners to join our business at the Chingola Tailings Leach Plant and Konkola Shaft No. 4. These new partners and consulting engineers are tasked with reviewing some of the processes we employ at both sites and introducing fresh perspectives, new-ways of working and new-technologies into our operations.
This opportunity not only benefits the company and the community, but will directly benefit KCM employees who will profit from skills transfer.
Unlocking the Copperbelt’s vast potential as a regional economic hub, requires all of us to embrace partnerships.
Partnerships offer the means to achieve the scale and strength that our industry needs to remain globally competitive.
Partnerships will enable the Copperbelt to realise its full potential as a diversified and strong, regional, economic hub.
As they say, if you want to walk fast, walk alone, but if you wish to walk far, walk together.
Let’s walk together.
The writer is KCM Plc Chief Executive Officer.