NKWETO MFULA, Chingola
KONKOLA Copper Mine (KCM), a subsidiary of London-listed Vedanta, wants to provide security options for the business and greater stability for communities where it operates as well as the country as a whole.
The company has mines in Chililabombwe and Chingola on the Copperbelt and Nampundwe in Shibuyunji just outside Lusaka.
So far, KCM’s parent company has invested US$3 billion in the local operations.
Out-going KCM chief executive officer Steven Din says the company’s strategy is about cementing the shared values among stakeholders who include the employees, Government and the communities where it operates.
Mr Din says KCM has massive mineral resources underground coupled with two concentrators and refinery.
The two Nchanga concentrators (East mill and West mill) were recently modernised, and a new concentrator was commissioned in 2008.
Mr Din says the KCM team collectively took the mining activities on an upward trajectory.
“We have been on a journey together, we smiled at each other and at times we shouted at each other,” Mr Din recalled during a farewell dinner hosted for him by KCM.
He reiterated that the mining firm will achieve its goal of attaining production levels of 400,000 tonnes per year as projected in the Vedanta’s 50-year vision for mining activities on the Copperbelt.
Mr Din, who has been at the helm of KCM for the last four years, commended Vedanta’s commitment to strengthening mining activities in Zambia which may go beyond 100 years.
“KCM is producing 400 tonnes per month now, last month we produced 358 tonnes, which is an affirmative that the 400,000 tonnes copper production per year is achievable,” he says.
Mr Din, whose last day with KCM was June 30, 2018, has taken up another job as chief executive officer at Strategic Precious Metals Processing firm in Oman in the Persian Gulf.
He says the new employers have just completed the building of the processing plant for base metals.
During his time with KCM, Mr Din helped in changing the fortunes of the mining company, which was faced with a lot of challenges at the time he joined in 2014.
“When I joined KCM I found good things as well as wrong things, but together as a team we have made KCM a better place,” he says.
However, the newly appointed KCM chief executive officer, Deshnee Naidoo, says her job is to stabilise the business at base level, to ensure viable production and make sure that KCM can reach the ultimate 400,000 tonnes production level integrated growth within the next few years.
Ms Naidoo, who is also Vedanta’s Africa Base Metal chief executive officer, says KCM has engaged technicians to assist with mining and water management at the Konkola Deep Mining Project in Chililabombwe.
This is to ensure that there is sustainable copper production at KCM.
Ms Naidoo shuttles between South Africa and Zambia to manage the operations of the mining firms.
Apart from mining, KCM has planted 89,000 trees in the last 13 years in communities and schools the Copperbelt.
KCM has also removed off 500,000 metric tonnes of silt in 2017 from Mushishima Dam and streams within Chingola as an assurance of KCM’s ‘go green’ initiatives.
And Government has described Mr Din as a ‘goal getter’ who ensured that copper production is on the increase despite the many challenges the mining firm is faced with.
Copperbelt Permanent Secretary Bright Nundwe says KCM increased its copper production during Mr Din’s tenure.
“Mr Din promoted issues of safety resulting in increased production at the mine,” he says.
Mr Nundwe also says that under the leadership of Mr Din, KCM enjoyed warm relations with Government.
He also commended KCM for its corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the communities where it operates.
And KCM chairman Kaldip Kaura says since taking up his appoitment as chief executive officer of KCM, Mr Din did a lot to lift the profile of the company.
“A lot of credit goes to Mr Din, he was well positioned to drive KCM’s strategic plan of attaining a target of 400,000 tonnes of copper production per year in the near future,” he said.
Mr Kaura, who is also acting chief executive of Vedanta Resources, wished Mr Din all the best in his new job in the mining sector.
NKWETO MFULA, Chingola