MOPANI Copper Mines (MCM) Plc has reportedly resolved to give first priority in terms of awarding contracts in supply and construction to local contractors in Mufulira and Kitwe this year.
Zambia National Association for Sawmilliers (ZNASM) vice-publicity secretary Rabson Lungu confirmed the development in an interview yesterday.
Mr Lungu said the decision was arrived at during a meeting held between MCM and representatives of the local business community recently.
The members of the business community were advised to prepare for more works with the mining company in 2013.
He said the contracts would be awarded to the local business houses through tenders, ranging from monthly to yearly depending on the size of supplies.
Mr Lungu said MCM resolved to prioritise the business community in Mufulira and Kitwe because the mining company wanted to improve on business in the area of its operations and further enable the local people to feel the presence of the investor in the area.
"Obviously, Mopani wants to concentrate on the locals and will only consider working with the community outside when the local people fail to meet the company's demand.
"And one other reason is to help the association create jobs and wealth for local people," Mr Lungu said.
He said the association was further encouraged by the mining company and will begin forming consortiums to enable them to access more contracts.
"Forming consortiums will enable the association to begin to tender for much bigger contracts," Mr Lungu said.
He said the association was targeting to create at least 1,000 jobs this year alone, a situation he said would be better for local people.
He hailed MCM for resolving to support the local people as the decision would help grow the small and medium entrepreneurs in the area.
Mr Lungu said the association was looking forward to working with the mining giant and encouraged members to take advantage of this rare opportunity and increase their investment portfolios.