Gemcaton will always remain synonymous with one who has devoted his resources and time to bettering the welfare of the local people in Lufwanyama area, about 440-kilometres north of the capital, Lusaka-embracing two chiefdoms of Ndola rural north of Zambia and whose legacy will remain embedded in the hearts of the chiefdoms, settlers and all interest groups for years to come.
Gounasse’s company, known as Gemcanton Investments Holdings Ltd., though a joint venture between two companies: British Virgin Islands-based Frango Finance Ltd. and Wholly Mining Limited and based in Lufwanyama district, has embedded a lasting impression among the over 22,000 settlers.
Formerly sole proprietor of one of Zambia and globally reputed emerald producers, once known as Grizzly Mining Company, having been operational since 1997, selling emerald on commercial, some given away to the local people for their survival, Abdoulaye Ndiaye has a “big heart for the people of Lufwanyama.
He, is reputed a doyen of the local people, nicknamed “Father Gounasse” because of his unwavering hospitality and willingness to assist the community with various amenities under CSR, a norm for investing in Zambia, the company has come to stay-at least for the betterment of the host community.
Other contributions to better the welfare of the local people including construction of a 50-metre Minex bridge linking the mine and the settlers, while the road to the mine from the Kalengwa junction was done and is maintained by the business ‘Guru’
Community projects extended beyond Lufwanyama remain abound. In 2003, the company, then Grizzly Mining Ltd., donated blankets and mattresses to Kitwe Central Hospital, Mufulira Home for the Aged and Luanshya Hospital. It has also built a community school in Lufwanyama, sunk boreholes, built a clinic for its employees and also been the lead developer of the graveled joint road project from Pirala area to Kalulushi road, a distance of about 30 Km.
Pilala is the area where the clinic and the community school accommodating over 1,000 children from grade 1-7 are enrolled and are supported with uniforms, books, pencil and other facilities.
FACT FILE ON GRIZZLY (GEMCANTOM MINING): (Source-World Bank)
Grizzly Mining Limited Grizzly Mining Limited started full-scale operations in 1999. The mine is located in Lufwanyama District and is involved in mining and exporting of gemstones.
The Company has invested more than US$ 8 million in machinery and other mining equipment. Currently the Company employs about 350 full time employees and up to 70 casual workers per year.
The Company also claims that 60 percent of its workforce comes from the Lufwanyama District which, in a sense, contributes to employment creation and poverty alleviation in the area. Like all gemstone mines, the mine is fully operational from April to December due to weather.
Grizzly Mining Limited is involved in some community projects as part of its social responsibility practice.
In 2003, the Company donated blankets and mattresses to Kitwe Central Hospital, Mufulira Home for the Aged, and Luanshya Hospital. The Company spent about US$ 30,000 on these activities.
The Company has also built a community school in Lufwanyama at the cost of US$ 14,000. The school has about 200 pupils and runs from grades 1 to 7. The Company also claims to have built houses for the headmaster and a senior teacher.
The Company has sunk boreholes at a cost of US$ 17,200 and has also built a clinic for its employees. It is involved in maintaining a joint road project built from the Pirala area to Kalulushi – a distance of about 30 kilometres.
In 2000, Grizzly Mining also sent five heavy-duty equipment operators to South Africa for training.
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