By BRIAN MALAMA and SITUMBEKO SITWALA
FIRST Quantum Minerals (FQM) is expected to spend about US$100 million in the next three years to develop the 250-hectare Kabitaka residential and commercial area outside Solwezi.
In a statement released by Kansanshi Mining Plc, a subsidiary of FQM, about US$76 million has been committed for the development – in phases – of the Kabitaka project.
â€œThe Kabitaka Central is well underway and all projects, including a third phase of housing, hotel and a large regional shopping centre,[are] expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2017,â€ Kansanshi mine public relations managerÂ Godfrey Msiska said.
Responding to a press query, Mr Msiska said FQM has so far spent US$40 million on the project which is progressing with water, sewerage infrastructure and a six million-litre water storage facility now completed.
In the first phase, 366 houses have been built and are being handed over to customers.
A 400-desk primary school at Kabitaka has been completed and over 300 pupils from grades one to nine are attending classes.
In the second phase, 30 houses out of the 400 planned have been completed and were being handed over to the customers.
â€œThis number is increasing on a weekly basis as the contractors engaged to build the houses ramp up the construction of the homes,â€ Mr Msiska said.
Mr Msiska said the construction of a 400-desk middle school has also started and would be completed in the second quarter of 2015.
He said work will start this year on the first commercial development of Kabitaka with the completion of the areaâ€™s village ecntre in the second quarter of 2015.
Up to 200 houses were being planned for the third phase of the project and construction is expected to start in the third quarter of 2015.
â€œFuture phases of Kabitaka, including Kabitaka South and Kabitaka North, are on hold pending the receipt of title deeds for those plots and government permission to develop them,â€ Mr Msiska said.
FQM is developing the 1,000-hecatre Kipemba area, also outside Solwezi, and the company allocated US$1 million to plan for a world-class residential and commercial area.
A plan of the town, which will be located on four separate plots each with an area of about 248 heactres, has already been submitted to Solwezi Municipal Council.
The Kipemba project will include the development of 247 hactares of land on which 2,000 houses, a 48-hectare industrial park and a 20-hectare commercial area will be built.
The Kipemba project is estimated to cost about US$50 million. An application for approval from the Zambia Environmental Management Agency will be made soon, according to Mr Msiska.
And Solwezi Town Clerk Ronald Daka disclosed in an interview recently that the development of Kipemba was a remarkable achievement which bring sustainable development to the mining town.
Mr Daka also revealed that Elliot Properties of Ndola will construct a shopping mall in Solwezi.
â€œUnder the integrated development plan we are in a hurry to transform Solwezi to a much more organised town. As it is, Solwezi looks like a very big shanty township. So there are big projects underway,â€ Mr Daka said.
Mr Daka also disclosed that another shopping mall will be built by Kiampemba Development Company which will be anchored by Pick Nâ€™ Pay store and a budget hotel.
The municipality has partnered with Henan Gouji and Mei Mei to develop 242 hectares of land in Wamami area into another mini town.
â€œWe are just waiting for approval of our MoUâ€™s from the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. In this development plan, housing units of all categories will be constructed including a shopping mall,â€ Mr Daka revealed.
He pointed out that Solwezi has a huge housing deficit with many workers renting mud houses while others are forced to find accommodation in other towns.
By BRIAN MALAMA and SITUMBEKO SITWALA