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FQM calls for national energy strategy

Filed under: Business,Latest News |
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The nation’s largest taxpayer, First Quantum Minerals (FQM), has encouraged Government to come up with a long-term energy strategy to secure a reliable and affordable power supply.

Such a strategy would provide much-needed private-sector confidence and help attract further foreign direct investment, said the mining company which operates Africa’s largest copper mine by production – Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi, and the Sentinel Mine in Kalumbila.

The call came as a delegation of diplomats comprising European Union Ambassador to Zambia Alessandro Mariani, German Ambassador Achim Burkart, Finish Ambassador Timo Olkkonen, Irish Ambassador Seamus O’Grady and Italian Ambassador Filippo Scammacca toured FQM’s operations and its social investment programmes in Solwezi and Kalumbila Districts.

FQM head of government affairs John Gladston called on Zambia to devise a long-term energy strategy that included a mix of hydropower, renewable energy and fossil fuel generation in order to address the Nation’s chronic power deficit. He also looked forward to the conclusion of Zambia’s first Cost of Service Study conducted since 2007.

“I fully support the recent comments made by the Zambia Development Agency’s Director General Patrick Chisanga who recently called for the unbundling of ZESCO in order to improve the affordability and efficiency of delivery of electricity across Zambia” Gladston said. “There are many examples across the World where such efficiency has only been achieved by the root and branch reform of state-owned electricity utilities; this is a fundamental requirement if Zambia is to establish truly Cost Reflective electricity tariffs.”

First Quantum recently spent US$206 million installing 600km of 330KV double transmission line and sub-stations to deliver power to the rural North Western Province and so significantly increase the reliability and stability of the ZESCO electricity grid.

Finnish Ambassador Timo Olkkonen said “There is a lot of expertise in Europe in terms of power generation using renewable resources for generating power. Creating a suitable energy mix that will be able to provide reliable and enduring base-load power for Zambia is an important part of Zambia’s energy strategy.  I think there are opportunities there,” he said.

First Quantum has invested in excess of US$5.7 billion in its Sentinel and Kansanshi Mines and the Kansanshi Smelter, and has paid more than US$3 billion in taxes in the last eleven years, transforming the economy of North-Western Province and creating employment for more than 8,500 people.

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