SarWatch Writer
SARWatch and its partners visit First Quantum Minerals to assess its social corporate investment programme

SARWatch is undertaking a major investigation into the corporate social investment at Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi. Kansanshi Mine is subsidiary of First Quantum Minerals (FQM). This assessment will focus on the welfare of communities that live around the operations of First Quantum’s Kansanshi Mine at Solwezi.

Between 15th and 17th April 2019, SARWatch took a team of 18 people to Solwezi to undertake the assessment.  The visit included a one-day engagement between the two delegations, a visit to the mine, and visit to social projects being implemented by FQM.

This assessment follows the dispute between SARWatch and Kansanshi Mines on the content of the first report published by SARWatch, entitled “Living in Parallel Universe: First Quantum Minerals versus Community”. FQM refuted a number of findings and claimed that the company was not consulted in the writing of the report. SARWatch and FQM subsequently agreed for a verification visit.

SARWatch’s delegation included professors from recognised universities, representatives of international and local civil society organizations’, the sub-chief from Solwezi, and members of affected mining communities.

According to most of the team members the assessment mission was insightful. As Professor Theresa Moyo puts it “The poverty and hardship of the communities around Kansanshi Mine makes me feel very sad and  encourages me to soldier  to work with mining communities for their self determination, and ensure [that they] fully benefit from the extraction of minerals under their feet”

Community members who were part of the mission and those visited by SARWatch commended SARWatch and said: “We are the owners of the copper and gold and we do not benefit anything from our copper. A lot of organisations have come and have promised to support us. But nothing has ever happened. They come and go. Most of them make empty, loud and unfulfilled promises. It seems SARWatch is a different type of organisation. We are pleased to be associated with SARWatch”

SARWatch wishes to commend FQM for having opened up and accepted the need to have a frank discussion on its corporate social investment. The assessment report will be published in August, with launches in both Canada and Zambia.