In order to maximize value for its shareholders, Zambia’s base mineral potential is being explored, found, and developed by African Power Coal Limited (APCL), a Zambian firm which is actively engaging in community and adopting sustainable business practices whenever possible. The company also displays a personal and organizational dedication to sustainability.
APCL is located in Mulungwa village in Chief Mweemba’s chiefdom in Sinazongwe district, Southern Province. It is 2 years old and has been in production for 4 months.
Despite being a new mine, APCL has brought development that has never been brought before in Mulungwa village by other companies in the area that have existed for so many years.
The company is highly involved in the community it operates in, supporting and contributing to education and infrastructure development as well as favoring local residents when hiring employees.
Since time immemorial, the people of this area had not witnessed any development. They depended on water from shallow streams, the roads were in a bad state and the locals were just peasant and fish farmers.
But with the coming in of African Power Coal Mine, the lives of the local people in Mulungwa village, significantly changed for the better.
Since its inception in the chiefdom, the company has built two big bridges for the locals to benefit. One of the bridges which is located near Sulwegonde Rural Health Centre, has enabled locals to access the health centre quickly and easily unlike before when they had to swim or walk through the crocodile-infested stream locally known as ‘Zim river’ in order to access health services at Sulwengonde.
The other bridge which is right at the mine campsite, has facilitated easy access to education for the school going children of Siyapubwe Primary school. Before the bridge, school-going children had to swim to school and even worse during rainy season, they would not attend class at all. The river is believed to have claimed a number of lives before the bridges were built. On an average, it claimed at least 10 lives a year.
The bridge which took about four months to construct and is 15 meters deep, 50 meters long and is able to handle the capacity of 200 tonnes of equipment, cost the company about USD 3 million.
APCL has created employment for over 300 people both direct and indirect employment at the mine. Among the 300 direct and indirect employees of the mine, 10 are women. Eight of the women are stationed at the kitchen while one is a licensed operator and the other a safety officer. As a mine we encourage other women to take up more responsibilities that society deems as fit for men only, as long as they are trained and qualified for the job. So far, the mine has employed locals from over five villages in the chiefdom.
Apart from creating employment, since the mine began its activities, an USD 8 million road that covers a distance of over 45kilometers from the main road to the mine was constructed. The road which was blocked by two rivers and was inaccessible by vehicles before the mine started its activities in the district, was constructed from scratch by the company.
African Power Coal Limited has also facilitated the availability of electricity from Maamba to Mulungwa. Before the mine was in existence, Mulungwa had no access to power but with the coming in of APCL, the village has electric polls available for villagers to tap into and use.
Relocating the residents of Mulungwa village from the mining area to a safer area was not an easy task for the company, the residents had been settled there for many years.
The company engaged them in the developments that will be in the area and also convinced them on the benefits that they will receive once the mine was set up.
With the right documentation and authorities, the company managed to convince the residents to move and were later compensated.
As a company, we felt just compensating the residents with cash was not enough, we did not want to make them feel like we disturbed their peace so we decided to elevate their compensation from what we were instructed to compensate by the authorities.
APCL decided to take care of the welfare of the residents by building houses that they will relocate to, employing them and also giving them tenders to be supplying food and goods to the mine for the mine workers.
The company has sub-contracted 100 locals to build houses for the employees of the mine. The houses will be for both Zambian and Chinese workers and are set to be completed in the next six months. For the first 12 houses, the company has also drilled a bore hole for the residents in the area to help with the supply of clean water.
The villagers did not have any building structure for a church but now APCL has constructed a church building which is nearly done and that accommodates roughly 800 people at a budgeted cost of about USD 96,000.
The coal mined at African Power Coal Limited in Mulungwa is the finest and of the highest quality in the country such that Dangote Cement is willing to go in business with the mine. The company is currently supplying coal to other high profile businesses such as Marcopolo Tiles and Sinoma.
The company has also enabled a better access to cellphone network in the chiefdom by facilitating Zamtel network towers. We are working towards bringing Airtel and MTN to jump on board as well.
The community of Mulungwa village and the nearby surroundings are expected to gain significant advantages from the mining project as output rises.
Moving forward, the company seeks to work hand in hand with the community by creating more accessible roads, creating a mini stadium for the youth in order for them to be fit, active and healthy and creating a police post to ensure the safety of the community.
The company also plans to open a small market for the locals to sale their produce to the track drivers who come to buy coal at Mulungwa Coal Mine so that they can support the locals and more money should be in the hands of the locals. As African Power Coal limited, we believe that all this will be and can be achieved with teamwork, unity, respect, quality, innovation, passion and integrity.