University of Zambia (UNZA) Acting Vice-Chancellor professor Anne Sikwibele has disclosed that Kagem Emerald Mining Limited has committed US$172,500 for scholarships to students studying geology at UNZA’s School of Mines.
The scholarships, which were first introduced at UNZA in 2015 by the mining giant, will run for a period of eight years effective from 2022 to 2029.
Speaking during the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UNZA’s School of Mines and Kagem, Sikwibele said that the renewed financing from Kagem demonstrates a strong commitment from the company in ensuring that critical Human resource in the mining sector is trained.
”This MOU is a demonstration of our strong partnership aimed at providing excellent opportunities to expose students to the industry’s work culture. In this way, we can be sure that when students graduate, they are better prepared to start working at mining companies,’’ She said.
Sikwibele also commended the School of Mines for sustaining the partnership with Kagem as it was the second MOU being signed following the successful implementation of the 2015-2022 MOU.
”I wish to urge the school to derive other benefits from the MOU that will see innovative tangible products developed, skills oriented courses for the gemstone sector and laboratory equipment to support applied research among other aspects,” she said.
The acting vice-chancellor further directed the Dean in the School of Mines, Dr Bunda Besa, to engage his staff in order to develop an implementation plan that will ensure that the MOU with Kagem is successfully implemented.
Speaking at the same event, Kagem Emerald Mining Board Chairman Dr Sixtus Mulenga has encouraged UNZA students from the school of Mines to apply for internship at Kagem in order to gain industrial experience.
”Through our Gemfields Foundation we are working on a plan to develop a state of the art vocational training college institute In Lufwanyama district, where we shall be able to provide hands-on skills for the young people on the Copperbelt,’’ Mulenga added.
The board chairman said that Kagem further hopes to partner with UNZA in order to undertake research in areas of mining and geology.
”For our particular operation, geology and mining would be the area of research because Kagem open pit mine is right now the largest open pit mine of emerald in the world. This has made Zambia the topmost country in producing emerald in the world,” he said.
Meanwhile, University of Zambia Mineral society Vice President Elijah Muntemba said the scholarships from Kagem will allow brilliant students at the School of Mines to focus more on their studies rather than their difficulties in paying tuition fees.
”The partnership between our school and Kagem will boost the CVs of students and enhance their networking in the mining sector,’’ Muntemba said.