No matter the situation attached to it, relocation has never been easy. Mining companies across the globe face a number of challenges when it comes to moving a community from the location where new operations are commencing. They not only have problems with convincing the locals to relocate but also with coming to a consensus with them on the momentary worth of their homes – not buring the emotional attachment that the people have to that place.
On Wednesday December 14, 2022, two years after the first relocation, African Power Coal Limited (APCL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jonathan Kays visited Mulungwa Coal Mine where 12 locals were relocated to new areas to pave way for new mining activities.
In his speech to the locals, Mr Kays expressed the company’s priority as to ensure that everyone benefits from the mine operations.
APCL goes a long way in its desire to enhance the livelihoods of the community by providing employment and creating business opportunities. In its quest to doing so, APCL has sub-contracted 100 locals to build houses for mine employees and has opened doors for the locals to supply food stuff such as cows, goats, sheep, chickens and vegetables to the mine.
Among the 12 locals that were relocated some were employees of APCL, suppliers, while others were looking forward to becoming suppliers to the coal mine. Even as they were asked to relocate and build elsewhere, the 12 residents were assured that the company would still work hand-in-hand with them in improving their livelihoods by providing opportunities for them to do business with the company.
APCL went an extra mile by rendering vehicles to the locals which they used to transport their building material all the way from Maamba right to their doorsteps. This was a win for the locals as it saved them with transportation cost.
During this whole operation, APCL’s wish was to see everyone succeed in building their new homes. The company hinted out how everyone should build within the confines of their budget and not simulate the structures of their colleagues as they all received varying amounts as compensation.
In his concluding remarks, as though it was not enough, the company’s CEO announced that APCL would direct some of its workers to assist the locals in building their house as the company expected them to build better and improved structures.
Prior to this compensation exercise, APCL Environmental and Settlement Consultant, Mubanga Mwansa, and representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Social Welfare, Town Council, and the Department of Settlement and Urban Planning conducted an assessment on the dwellings of the affected families and arrived at an estimation of the asset value.
Everyone who received compensation for their houses received a reasonable amount which left them all with smiles on their faces.
Before the relocation, locals were affected by noise from mine blast operations. This will no longer be the case now that they all have been shifted to a safer location.
Village Headman, Patrick Siakalongo, who was also among them, was delighted that him and his people had received compensation for their houses. In his remarks, he assured the company that he and his people would comply with the terms of the agreement.
APCL and the locals agreed that the company would only provide transportation for their building materials provided they procured their materials from Maamba within the space of two weeks.
It was during this joyous exercise that the company found the opportunity to also sensitise the locals on the benefits of saving their money in the bank and not hoarding it in their houses.
The following day, the 12 accompanied by APCL Human Resource Manager, took a trip on a company vehicle to Maamba where among the 12, 3 were assisted in opening savings accounts with Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO) Plc. Money was then deposited in all their bank accounts.
When all was done the locals beamed with excitement as they received receipts of their transaction from the bank, having proven that the money was now in their possession.