Members of the MMTA will be aware of our Association’s link with the copperbelt town of Mufulira, the place where copper has been mined since the 1930s. It is a town all too familiar with the ups and downs of the copper price. Today, with copper at $5000 per mt, the price is half what it was in 2010. The result, at the unshiny end of the telescope, is loss of jobs and deprivation in a country trying to haul itself out of poverty. Here the copper price is not a matter of just passing interest to traders; so dependent is the Zambian economy on the red metal for 70% of its exports that the Kwacha has depreciated 30% since January 2015, meaning this land-locked country dependent on imports is pushed further back.
However, there is one constant in Mufulira, and that is the quiet unspun support that our members have given, and continue to give, to a cause that has resonance with metal people – a community entirely given over to mining and production of a metal on which our Western society depends.
Through our links established with doctors and teachers, our support is targeted to a single hospital in need of most assistance – Kamuchanga District Hospital – serving a catchment area of 90,000 people. So far MMTA members have provided an anaesthetic machine and other medical equipment. Other members, off their own bat, are offering grants to medical students from UK to link with the hospital too. But the ongoing project of lasting value is the provision of water.
So far funds, raised by MMTA for Phase 1, have provided water storage sufficient to supply a new laundry. In Phase 2 a second tank has been put in place to ensure sufficient capacity to store water for the hospital’s 24 hour needs, replacing oil barrels filled during the few hours when water flows from the local water company. With the second tank now up and running we are now aiming for Phase 3 – plumbing from the new tank to the kitchen, mortuary and perhaps maternity wards. This is a phased operation to ensure no funds go astray and that each step is accounted for. As further insurance to make sure funds reach their goal, works are carried out by local engineers with photographic evidence of completed works before payment. It is slow work but it is saving lives and I would like to thank all those members of the MMTA who have shown their support. If anyone wants to know more, please contact me, and if anyone is thinking of travelling a group is going from UK in March 2016.
Anthony Lipmann, Lipmann Walton & Co Ltd
The MMTA was delighted to raise £2000 for the next phase of this project at its recent LME Week Anniversary Dinner. Many thanks to all who donated prizes — Westbrook Resources, Alfred H Knight,Lipmann Walton & Co, Maritime House and The Intercontinental Hotel—and also to those who took part in the charity raffle.