FQM head of government affairs John Gladston said the mining firm had worked on 128km of the 168km road, carrying out pothole and shoulder repairs, and reconstruction of certain sections and even surfacing of some of the unsealed base courses constructed by the contractors.
“FQM decided that urgent action needed to be taken, as the road is the lifeblood of the company, and indeed the country.
Gladston was speaking following President Lungu’s visit to North Western Province last week during which he inspected construction works on the Solwezi-Chingola Road
“ All its consumable goods and finished copper is transported on the same road. And we have completed temporal rehabilitation of the Chingola-Solwezi road, much to the delight of all motorists, as it has made the road passable during the rainy season,” he said.
The mining company thanked President Edger Chagwa Lungu for taking the time to inspect the Solwezi-Chingola road.
Mr Gladston said good road infrastructure played an important role in attracting foreign direct investment, not just in North-Western Province, but in the nation generally.
He said that the road had deteriorated to such a state that North-Western Province faced being cut-off from the rest of the country during the rainy season, potentially bringing copper exports to a standstill.
“We rely on the road not only for supply but also to move our copper concentrate to the smelter on the Copperbelt,
“Any work stoppage due to the bad state of the road would have crippled operations at the mine will suffer, and we would not have suffered alone, the Zambian economy would suffer as a whole, as well,” said Gladston.
The mining company deployed 85 staff and contractors, including road engineers and labour, along with equipment to complete remedial work on the road which carries 60 percent of the nation’s mineral wealth to market. “The work done by First Quantum served to stabilize this road which was previously in a deplorable state and presented a real and present danger to the mining sector and to those Zambians whose livelihoods depend on it,
“The works we undertook on the road has kept business flowing in Zambia’s new Copperbelt, much to the benefit of the Zambian economy,” Mr Gladston said.
Gladston said FQM had recognised the transport sector as an important component of the economy and a common tool used for development, with a clear relationship between the quantity and quality of transport infrastructure and the level of economic development.
Source: Daily Nation