First Quantum Minerals Ltd. has taken significant steps towards consolidating its mining operations at Kansanshi Mining Plc (KMP) in readiness for the S3 expansion project. The move comes as ore grades at the mine have declined over the years, leading to lower copper production levels compared to a decade ago.
The S3 project, announced last year, will see First Quantum invest over US$1 billion to expand KMP’s mining capacity and increase copper production to former levels and beyond. This development is expected to extend Kansanshi’s lifespan by an additional two decades, generating job opportunities within the industry.
In response to the challenge of lower ore grades, First Quantum has implemented various efficiency measures and initiated the consolidation of operations. The consolidation involves merging First Quantum Mining Operations Limited’s (FQMO) Road and Earthworks Division, Mining Division, and supporting services with KMP.
Key stakeholders, including unions, and employees have been informed about the consolidation. Heavy machinery and equipment have already been transferred, and the reassignment of the main staff complement is currently underway. However, due to Zambian employment law, there will be a technical redundancy process at FQMO, followed by the re-employment of affected employees at KMP.
While some job losses are expected due to role duplication across the entities, it is anticipated to affect only a small percentage of the overall workforce. The majority of FQMO employees impacted by the consolidation will be offered new roles at KMP. Throughout the process, constant review will take place, and other employment opportunities within the First Quantum Group may be identified.
Rudi Badenhorst, Chief Operating Officer of FQM, expressed the company’s commitment to Kansanshi and the S3 project. He emphasized that despite the challenges posed by lower ore grades, First Quantum remains dedicated to the mine’s bright future. The consolidation of mining operations at Kansanshi will facilitate the successful rollout of strategic initiatives, ensuring their ultimate success.
The consolidation process is being implemented in phases, and affected employees are being provided with separation benefits in accordance with company policy and the provisions of the Employment Code Act.
First Quantum’s investment in the S3 project and other strategic initiatives demonstrates the company’s confidence in Kansanshi’s potential and its commitment to sustainable growth in the mining sector.