By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
INNOVATION is an unreplaceable buffer against several challenges both at the sectoral and economic level, says First Quantum Minerals (FQM) Country Manager, Kingsley Chinkuli. General Chinkuli emphasised that innovation was the most sustainable way of growing a country’s economy. He explained that innovation was critical if Zambia was to successfully transition from a mineral dependent economy and bring non-traditional sectors to the fore, in its push for economic diversity.
“If we as a country could focus on innovation, especially in terms of adding value to our natural resources, then we would be that much closer to achieving not only the industrialisation dream but also the long sort after economic diversity. “While copper prices may be booming at present, let us for one moment imagine how Zambia would sustain its GDP without the red metal. Let us pretend Zambia was not so richly endowed with natural resources; how would we keep her economy alive if not through innovation?” he said in a statement.
Gen Chinkuli explained that innovation had helped FQM to remain operational during the economic turbulences caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. He said innovation represented a critical pillar in FQM’s operational strategy, which must be maintained through the generations of miners. Gen Chinkuli said that it was the mine’s goal to ensure each member of the FQM family was capable of making significant contributions to the creation of pioneering solutions to challenges prevalent in the mining sector.
“One thing that has worked well for us at First Quantum Minerals is thinking ahead. Thinking ahead, most of the time, involves anticipating potential problems and coming up with solutions that may not yet be available at that time – and this requires a certain level of inventiveness to pull off,” he said. He said: “Hence why we must start inculcating a culture of innovation in our people now, while we still have minerals to fall back on. “Let us follow FQM’s example and make thinking outside the box common place in all sectors of the economy so that we may thrive beyond our mines’ lifespans and even in the face of global adversities.”