MOPANI Copper Mines says the establishment of the US$21 million Mopani central training centre in Mufulira is a clear indication that the mining giant is here to stay in Zambia.
MCM chief executive officer Johan Jansen said the state of the art training centre included the engineering and mining schools where a minimum of US$20,000 would be spent on the students’ training programme over two and a half years.
He said the project was launched in 2013 after MCM realised that the mining industry was facing a critical shortage of technical and artisanal skills.
Mr Jansen said the training centre was the first of its kind in Zambia and Africa as a whole.
The centre would offer training to both school leavers and in-service personnel in a controlled environment that closely resembled the actual operating atmosphere on the ground.
He said it was only with a competent workforce that Mopani could be assured of its planned investment in excess of US$1.1 billion which would see the sinking and equipping of new shafts to extend the life of the mining company.
‘’Our training centre in Mufurila guarantees us availability of suitably qualified and experienced local artisans and miners that will be able to handle the challenges posed by the continuous growth and the evolution of the copper mining sector in Zambia,” said Mr Jansen.
Mr Hansen said the training centre currently had more than 200 students with a guarantee of getting a job in the mining sector upon completion.
He said despite the difficulties faced by students in Zambia in the higher learning institutions to obtain bursaries, the training centre offers full sponsorship to all the enrolled students covering accommodation, learning materials and a monthly allowance for every student.
Mr Jansen said the mining company invested a lot of money on establishing the centre to have competent workers in the mining industry.
The chief executive officer commended the Patriotic Front government for its commitment in supporting the mining industry during a difficult period of the depressed copper prices and the energy crisis that has affected the industrial operations during the latter part of the construction period of the world- class training centre.