View the recent ICMM report on Enhancing mining's contribution to the Zambian economy and society. Part of the Mining: Partnerships for Development - Spotlight series 18
In 2008, the MMTA initiated a link between our minor metals' industry and the mining community of Mufulira in Zambia, at the heart of the copper belt.
Approximately 300,000 of Zambia’s approximate 12 million people live in the town of Mufulira, an urban town centred around the mine and smelting complex of Mopani. Most families are in some way involved with the copper industry and the mine, which was first excavated in 1933. In those days the ore at the surface graded at 5% Copper content. Today, the content is lower, at 2%, but with more efficient technology and deeper mining (up to 1.5 km depth) the mine is still profitable for its owners. 70% of the town’s water comes from aquifers released through mining and pumped to the surface.
Assembly at Mano Basic School, Mufulira
Children in Mufulira attend a wide variety of state-run schools, based on the British system, adopted (and since adapted) following independence in 1964. Schools include Mufulira High School, Mano Basic, Muleya Winter Basic and many more, which all do their best to provide an education that will satisfy the demands of a growing middle class (the young who have ambitions to grow up to be doctors, teachers, engineers). The late President, Dr Levy Mwanawasa, was originally a mining engineer from Mufulira. Many of the current members of government come from this town and some even gained their education in the schools mentioned above.
In 1995, the people of Castle Cary in Somerset initiated a link between schools in this part of the UK, which has now endured for almost 20 years. The Cary-Mufulira Community Partnership Trust (CMCPT) was established, as well as its counterpart in Zambia, the Mufulira-Cary Community Partnership Trust (MCCPT). Building durable links, through which both Zambian and UK communities can learn from each other, has been the ethos. Getting close to each other as communities has had a powerful influence on both sides, providing the continuity that is required in order to make charitable work effective.
A patient at Kamuchanga Hospital, Zambia
Reliant on extractive industries at the foundation of what we do in the Minor Metals Trade, our members have understood that an industry link with such a region makes sense. In the last five years, we were able to raise, through individual donations and the MMTA's Anniversary Dinners, donations of over £50,000, which have been channelled into furthering the exchanges between Zambia and UK. This money assisted with the funding of the incoming teachers and pupils from Zambia, as well as a series of specific small scale projects.
In March 2009, an anaesthetic machine was provided to a township hospital in the environs of Mufulira called Kamuchanga, serving 90,000 people. The surgeon had hitherto performed all minor operations without anaesthesia, and the hospital was forced to turn away patients in need of operations to larger hospitals further afield. Here at Kamuchanga, this state-run hospital was created from the buildings of a miners' tavern, facilitated and originally made available via the Town Clerk’s office, with whom the MMTA has contact. The hospital is growing in efficiency with the assistance of a very strong Rotary link, and now with MMTA assistance too. There is also an Aids clinic supported with anti-retroviral drugs supplied through a US Aid programme, as well as an X-Ray unit and services to fight malaria and TB.
Since writing our last report, we can now report that with the assistance and co-operation of Rotary Intl and MMTA member donations, a £20,000 project has been completed to bring 24-hour running water to Kamuchanga Hospital, as well as Robin’s Nest Orphanage. Storage tanks and pumps now allow water to be stored at both locations, so that use is constant even though water supply from the local water company is rationed. In tandem, the Zambian Ministry of Health is providing new washing machines, ironers and dryers to Kamuchanga which could not have been utilised without the installation of the water storage.