Kagem Mining in Lufwanyama has fulfilled its pledge to acquire the COVID-19 vaccine and ensure its staff and their dependents are vaccinated during the nationwide vaccination programme roll out.
The mine, which is 75% owned by London-based Gemfields and 25% by the Zambian Government’s Industrial Development Corporation, is setting the corporate pace in facilitating voluntary mass vaccination of its employees by the Ministry of Health, following the arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the country.
Kagem saw over 250 of its workforce vaccinated against the virus on the first day of its programme.
“We have had a very positive response from our staff with 255 opting for vaccination on the very first day. Kagem remains committed to safeguarding the health of our personnel and we will continue to implement measures put in place for working in the new normal,” notes Kagem General Manager, Sanjeev Kumar.
“Operations at Kagem restarted in a phased manner in mid-March 2021, after being suspended for nearly a year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The mine continues to closely monitor developments with the COVID-19 pandemic, including the rise of the new variants, and has put in place “New-Normal COVID-19 Environment” management systems, in line with the Ministry of Health protocols, which include Rapid Antigen testing and thermal body temperature reading cameras to minimise the risk of contagion.
“During the nearly year-long suspension of all but critical operations since 30 March 2020, Kagem employees, excluding those on critical operations, were placed on leave with basic (80%) salaries, in line with the new Employment Code Act 2019 (Act No. 3 of 2019) throughout the suspension period, despite not working.
“Kagem has been able to avoid redundancies and retain its workforce due to the financial support provided by the majority shareholder, Gemfields.
“We hope making the vaccine available to our staff will help create a healthy, safe and secure environment for our employees” notes Kumar, who is one of the vaccine recipients.