On 2 July, 2020, a South Africa-based organisation called Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) issued a press release entitled ‘First Quantum Minerals’ Hypocrisy Exposed’.

The release, circulated to media in Zambia, claimed that the recent appointment of a Zambian as General Manager of Kansanshi mine “did not happen as a result of any genuine change in FQM’s management policy”.

“The company was pushed into this as a result of our advocacy,” said SARW.

While making reference to possible legal action against it by FQM, SARW also reiterated previously discredited claims that questioned the quality of education and healthcare support provided to communities by the company.

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This network of civil society organisations wholeheartedly condemns the actions and sentiments of Southern Africa Resource Watch.

The network distances itself from the allegations made by Southern Africa Resource Watch, which undermine the work of network participants in building a solid foundation of dialogue with First Quantum Minerals and other mining companies in North-Western Province based on transparency, mutual respect and understanding.

The network demands that Southern Africa Resource Watch retracts its erroneous allegations against First Quantum Minerals and its General Manager with immediate effect.

The network takes offence at the implication by Southern Africa Resource Watch that a highly qualified and experienced General Manager was appointed as a result of pressure from SARW and therefore as tokenism, rather than on the basis of merit.

The network further condemns the moves by the said organization’s representative who at the pretext of calling the mining company to be transparent and accountable in the provision of CSR, was coercing the mines to employ the wife in return of doing away with the publication of the said report.

We find this an act of corruption, which we are fighting as a country. We denounce the act in its strongest terms As previously acknowledged, in a communique dated June 2, 2020:

The mining companies’ relationship with civil society has evolved successful in terms of both policy dialogue and operational collaboration during the last few years.

Policy dialogue at the district level has been more frequent and consistent.

The increased engagement between civil society and the mining sector through Mining Indabas and CSR fora offer new opportunities for dialogue on natural resources governance and environmental management, labour and employment, local procurement, conflict resolution, information disclosure and how CSR generally can benefit the local communities.

The participants further recognized that, most civil society organisations that interact with mining companies seem to be shifting their advocacy stance from a reactive to a proactive approach seeking to influence mining companies to adopt socially just and environmentally sustainable development approaches.

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They agreed that civil society organization should carry out evidence-based research and advocacy that is community driven and factual.