FQM works on Solwezi-Chingola road

Sun, 18 Dec 2016 10:52:10 +0000

 

By Nation Reporter

PROMPT action by First Quantum Minerals (FQM) road engineers has saved the troubled Solwezi-Chingola road from closure and restored access along the highway, which carries 60 percent of the nation’s mineral wealth to market, says head of government affairs John Gladston. 

Mr Gladston said FQM had completed rehabilitation work on most of the road – one of the most economically important arteries in Zambia, which threatened to be impassable in the current rainy season.

“The work being done by First Quantum is serving to stabilise this road, previously in a parlous state and presenting a real and present danger to the mining sector and to those Zambians whose livelihoods depend on it,

“This work is keeping the road open for business, but more importantly it is keeping it safe for the use of all Zambians,” said Mr  Gladston.

FQM has spent US$3 million so far to salvage the roadworks, which had ground to a halt after contractors were left unpaid by the government.

The road had deteriorated to such a state that North-Western Province faced being cut-off from the rest of the country during the rainy season, potentially bringing copper exports to a standstill.

Faced with losing its route to market, the county’s largest copper producer deployed 85 staff and contractors, including road engineers and labour, along with equipment to complete remedial work on the full length of the 168km road before the rains set in.  Maintenance on 125km has so far been completed.

FQM was now finalising repair of the diversion route around particularly poor areas of the main road, along with surfacing of a 4 km stretch from China Geo’s Solwezi camp and a 3km section at Shafalunda.

The original contractors on the road, Buildcon and China Geo, have also recommenced work following the release of funds by the Road Development Agency (RDA).

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