First Quantum Minerals has partnered with Anglo American Exploration Zambia to construct a real-time PCR COVID-19 testing laboratory at Kansanshi Mine Hospital.
The modern laboratory was built to increase the testing capacity in North-Western Province. Anglo American provided the equipment and consumables, while First Quantum built and will staff the facility.
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Speaking at the opening of Ba Mingilo Molecular Laboratory in Solwezi First Quantum’s Kansanshi Mine Assistant General Manager John Gladston said that through its partnership with the Provincial Health Authorities, First Quantum was keeping its employees, their families, relatives and friends healthy and free from COVID-19.
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“We have been working in partnership with Anglo American and other stakeholders to prioritise the health and safety of personnel and focus on measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 among the workforce and communities surrounding our operations,” said Gladston.
He added that First Quantum will employ the clinical staff at the Kansanshi Mine Hospital to run the laboratory, to protect the health workers who operate the economic engine room of the nation.
Anglo American Geophysicist Michelo Shalwindi said: “We are pleased to be supporting the Zambian Government’s efforts to increase COVID-19 testing capacity in Zambia.
“This initiative will ensure that the communities close to where we are exploring have access to rapid and high-quality testing services crucial in helping manage the spread of COVID-19.”
Test kits have been distributed within the province: 5,000 for First Quantum, 5,000 for Anglo American and 5,000 for the community.
Permanent Secretary of Technical Services at the Zambian Ministry of Health Dr Kennedy Malama thanked First Quantum and Anglo American for their support in the fight against the pandemic and said he was pleased the two mining houses had demonstrated a strong partnership linked to Government’s support.
First Quantum has long made healthcare a priority in all the communities where it operates. The challenge, especially in less prosperous regions, is where to draw the line between problems that the company address, and those that remain within the mandate of the public healthcare system.
First Quantum has spent over US$100 million on its sustainability and community development programmes to improve the health and the quality of life for its employees, their families and their immediate communities.