FQM clarifies Kabitaka compensation
Solwezi, March 11, 2013, ZANIS —-First Quantum Minerals (FQM) has clarified the misunderstanding surrounding the compensation of residents of Kabitaka area who have been displaced to pave way for a mega housing project undertaken by the mining firm.
In a statement released to ZANIS in Solwezi, today, Kansanshi Mine Construction Manager Adrian Hosack says FQM is not responsible for payment of resettlement to the displaced families.
Mr Hosack said the local people must take up the issue of compensation with the Solwezi Council as it was the institution that negotiated and agreed resettlement payments after it concluded the sale of the land to FQM.
He reiterated that First Quantum Minerals has done everything in compliance with the laws of Zambia.
He said the mining firm has also employed 300 local people from Kabitaka to work on the housing project, with the number of employees from the local area expected to increase to more than 500 as the construction progresses.
He lamented that it is unfortunate that people who are also beneficiaries of such a significant investment are creating a situation that makes it difficult for the mega-housing project to move forward.
“On specific issues raised by the locals about employment at the housing site and payments for resettlement, the position of FQM is that more than 300 people contracted to work on the site are from the local area. This number will eventually get to more than 500 as the construction progresses,” reads the statement,” the statement.
More than 300 irate Mbonge residents stormed the Kabitaka housing project construction site and asked the contractor to stop all the works until all their concerns are addressed by First Quantum Minerals (FQM).
Solwezi district commissioner Crispin Likando confirmed the action by the displaced families.
Mr Likando said the community is upset with the mining firm for allowing the contractor to continue with the construction works despite the government’s directive to halt the project until all the concerns from various stakeholders are addressed.
He said the irate families also accused the FQM of having under paid them in compensation, the accusation FQM has refuted because the responsibility of paying compensation lies with Solwezi Municipal Council.
FQM is constructing 3,500 homes under the Kabitaka Housing project, with 318 of the housing units worth an initial investment of about US$44 million expected to be completed in September this year.
Besides houses, the Kabitaka project includes construction of a modern school, a shopping mall and other upper class amenities.
Eight abducted Zambians released from DRC
Mkushi, March 11, 2013, ZANIS—Eight Zambian residents of Mkushi who were detained by Congolese security personnel six months have been released from a Congolese Prison.
Mkushi District Commissioner (DC) Christopher Chibuye confirmed the development to ZANIS, saying that the eight men arrived in Mkushi yesterday following their release from captivity in Congo.
Mr. Chibuye said that the eight were engaged in mining Gemstones on the border between Chief Chitina in Mkushi and Chief Chipilingo’s area in Congo when they were abducted in September last year.
He expressed relief with the arrival of the eight men from captivity, and thanked all those who had played a role in securing their release.
Mr Chibuye explained that the eight miners were abducted by Congolese security personnel patrolling the border area as they suspected them of having strayed into Congo.
Mr. Chibuye warned Mkushi residents who engage in cross Border activities to be careful with their movements to avoid similar incidences.
He noted that Government placed much care for the safety of the citizens, saying that there was need for residents to complement this by heeding to the advice on being mindful of illegally crossing into another country.
He said that his office had undertaken the relocation of the 8 men to their respective homes in Upper Lunsemfwa, Kasasnsama and Nkolonga areas of Mkushi.
One of the released men, 28 year old Franco Nchila of Upper Lunsemfwa, narrated his ordeal at Kasapa Prison in Lumbashi, saying that foreign inmates were subjected to constant beatings.
Another former captive, Golden Museka, expressed relief of being out of Kasapa Prison, saying that he had given up hope of ever seeing his family again .
The eight men who were released from captivity from a Congolese Prison, were named by the DC as Dominic Mwape, Franco Nchila, Rabson Fwashi, and Golden Museka.
Others were named as Victor Malaya, Kelvin Malaya, Whiteson Mschili and Douglas Kalunga.
ZANIS / ENDS / CM /CSB ……………PIX