first quantum minerals in conjunction with the ministry of works, supply and communication is spearheading a 117 billion kwacha upgrade of solwezi airport in solwezi, north western province.
the upgrade will allow the airport to handle aircraft as large as boeing 737s, a development expected to further fuel the growth of diversified industries such as agriculture and tourism in a province where mining is the main economic activity.
first quantum minerals country manager general kingsley chinkuli says the upgraded airport is expected to be a major trigger-point for accelerated economic growth for north western province and the rest of zambia.
general chinkuli was speaking when the minister of works, supply and transport, yamfwa mukanga inspected the progress of the airport upgrade.
he stressed that the upgraded solwezi airport will not only ease access to north western province, but will also stimulate growth of diversified industries such as agriculture and tourism.
general chinkuli added that the investment in the upgrade of the airport is one vivid example of how the mineral wealth of zambia can be of mutual benefit to ordinary zambians and investors.
general chinkuli notes that the airport works to be completed by may 2012 have stronger resonance with the patriotic front (pf) government’s intent to put greater focus on improving transport infrastructure to underpin accelerated social and economic development.
and mr. rob scott, first quantum roads division operations manager, disclosed that the new look solwezi airport will have a 2,700 metre runway, and that the upgrade exercise is progressing well.
mr. scott said the upgrade of solwezi airport is among the flagship projects first quantum is undertaking in improving infrastructure in north western province and other parts of zambia.
they include the improvements of the chingola/solwezi road which is the main access to north western province and this has made the road much safer than it had been in the recent past.
in addition, first quantum is undertaking a five-year programme to revamp solwezi general hospital to the tune of eleven billion kwacha.
the improvement of infrastructure by first quantum tangibly addresses concerns of substandard facilities in a province that produces 60 percent of zambia’s copper