First Quantum Minerals (FQM’s) Kansanshi Mining PLC is making significant strides towards environmental sustainability, setting new standards for the industry. Plastic pollution, a critical issue affecting ecosystems and human health, is being tackled head-on through innovative initiatives at the Kansanshi Mine.
Arnold Malambo, Environmental Manager at the mine, highlighted the company’s substantial progress in reducing plastic waste generation and promoting eco-friendly practices.
Since 2014, a dedicated campaign has been in place to curtail plastic waste, with a particular focus on recycling and avoidance. Mr. Malambo noted that the mine has successfully reduced bottled water consumption by a staggering 99.8 percent as of 2022.
To achieve this milestone, he said that all employees received reusable aluminum bottles, becoming a standard item on-site. Visitors are also offered these sustainable alternatives, contributing to the broader goal of eliminating bottled water entirely.
Mr. Malambo emphasized the importance of fostering a mindset shift among employees and visitors, aiming to reduce the devastating effects of plastic waste on the environment.
In addition to addressing bottled water consumption, he said that Kansanshi has implemented sustainable alternatives in its canteens, substituting non-biodegradable food packaging and cutlery with eco-friendly options such as biocane food packaging and corn starch cutlery. This shift has significantly decreased the amount of non-biodegradable waste sent to landfills.
The company is further championing environmental stewardship through an ambitious recycling program for industrial waste packaging materials. Plastics used in various industrial processes are shredded, packaged, and sent to recyclers, who transform them into reusable products like plastic chairs and PVC ceiling boards. This circular approach not only reduces waste but also creates economic opportunities.
Mr. Malambo stressed the ongoing commitment to educating employees and the public about the long-lasting impact of plastic waste on the environment. Despite the challenges in changing mindsets, there has been a noticeable shift in behavior among the workforce, with littering on-site decreasing significantly.
FQM continues to prioritize environmental initiatives, pledging to further reduce its carbon footprint and waste generation. The company calls on other stakeholders, including municipalities and the government, to collaborate in addressing the plastic waste crisis. Collective efforts are crucial to developing sustainable solutions that protect the environment for future generations.
In a collaborative effort with local authorities, Mr. Malambo said that the mining company is actively supporting community cleanliness and environmental preservation in Solwezi, underscoring its commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen.