In an effort to accelerate community development in three chiefdoms of North-Western Province, Barrick Lumwana Mining Company (LMC) has officially operationalized a Community Trust with an initial funding of US353, 000 for the year 2019.
The birth of Lumwana Community Trust (LCT, comes as the actualization of an agreement reached between Barrick Lumwana Mining Company and three Chiefdoms right at the commencement of the multi-million US dollar mining investment over 10 years ago.
The three now empowered chiefdoms whose traditional leaders form part of the LCT Board are Chief Mukumbi, Chief Mumena and Matebo.
The Trust is mooted as one best vehicle to assist the mining firm quickly deliver the much desired infrastructure development to the community in which it operates.
Barrick Lumwana Mining Company Sustainability Manager Christopher Mukala reveals the development in an interview explaining that each of the three Chiefdoms has also appointed two persons respectively to sit on the Board of the Trust.
“The Trust comes from an agreement we had with the three royal highnesses as Lumwana Mining Company when we were getting land for the mining. We agreed then that we will get land through mining but we will share the benefits with you through a Trust. So, what we have agreed again is that every year we will be providing funding to the Trust for community projects mostly infrastructure,” Mr Mukala explained.
Mukala added that though the LCT may be highly pronounced now but previously the mining company had been providing different forms of projects through this same developmental vehicle such as classroom blocks under education, health and others.
“As we speak now we are siting with the Trust to unveil the different types of projects that we are going to undertake in this year, 2019. The Mine started running this trust from 2007 but now transferred it totally to the Chiefs who will have their own employees to run the affairs of the Trust,” Mukala explained.
The Sustainability Manager further said that despite the formalization and handing over of the LCT to the royal Highnesses, the mining company would still maintain own various community programmes under its robust corporate social responsibility.
“We will still continue as Lumwana Mining Company running programmes of opportunity livelihoods, local procurement, local employment, small and medium entrepreneurship development and many others,” Mukala said.
Mukala added that communities in the three chiefdoms would be allowed to submit projects to the LCT for further review by the Board before being funded, saying that the Trust understood the scope very well such that when proposal would be availed such should be in line with what had been agreed up on.
The other critical aspect to the functionality of the LCT had been the three royal highness sat and agreed, based on impact of the mining operations on the three chiefdoms, that Chief Mukumbi will get 40 per cent of the annual projects budget, Mumena and Matebo Chiefdoms will get 30 per cent respectively.
It is also agreed that the funding of the LCT would be based on the annual performance of Barrick Lumwana Mining Company in terms of production and profits assessed using the company’s established formula.
Meanwhile the Lumwana Community Trust Board has already tasked a Mrs. Juliet Mwendafilumba to be the Coordinator.
By John Chola, Solwezi Today.