Mopani opens prospects for an upcoming Zambia Pilot

AN upcoming Zambian pilot has paid glowing tribute to Mopani Copper Mines Plc for opening up new career opportunities for him by sponsoring his specialised pilot training in South Africa.

Mopani Copper Mines Public Relations Unit states in a statement that Munenga Mulala, 33, a Zambian Private Pilot License (PPL) holder, was recently sponsored by Mopani to go and upgrade his qualifications to a Commercial Pilot License (CPL) in South Africa at a cost of US$20,000 (about K110, 000).

“The cost of commercial flight training was far beyond my reach … thanks to Mopani Copper Mines for a life-changing opportunity accorded to me,” says Mulala, who has just completed the first half of his flight training at the African Union Aviation Academy – CPL Ground School – in Mafikeng.

The apprentice pilot is currently in the country on break and will be returning to South Africa to continue with his Commercial Pilot License training.

Mulala completed the first half of his training with distinctions – the lowest mark scored being 77 percent.

“You know, being a pilot calls for maximum precision; there’s no guess work. You have to know what you are doing at every minute, every second,” he explains in commenting on the results. “I am glad that I have cleared the first part with very good marks. It gives me confidence and puts me in good stead to now step into the next stage of advanced flight training.”

A Technical Examinations statement of results from the South African Civil Aviation Authority, signed by that country’s director of Civil Aviation, indicates that Mulala obtained 80 percent in Meteorology, 86 percent in Flight Planning, 80 in Radio & Electronics and 78 percent in Navigation.

Others courses were Instruments (77 percent) – the lowest score, Air Law & Procedures (79 percent), Human Performance (82) and Aircraft Technical (83 percent).

Mulala describes Mopani’s sponsorship as a “dream-come-true” saying it has drawn him closer to fulfilling his childhood ambition.

“From a very tender age, I got fascinated by the art of flight and as I grew up, my drive to become a pilot grew tremendously. The one thing I had on my mind was to live my dream of flying as a pilot. I am happy now it will come to pass,” he says.

Mopani Copper Mines Plc Chief Executive Officer, Danny Callow, says the mining company’s decision to ‘fund’ Mr Mulala’s dream was part of its long-term commitment to supporting and empowering ambitious Zambian youths.

“Sponsoring someone for a flight training programme is unprecedented and is a manifestation of our deep-rooted desire to make a difference in the lives of the people around us. It is our policy to look at not just empowering the mining communities but also those outside these communities like Mr Mulala,” explains Callow, whose company is the second largest mining employer with over 18,000 employees.
“We looked at the young man’s determination, drive, ambition and potential; it was these qualities that persuaded us to make this significant investment into his life.”

Mopani runs a robust Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme that includes running hospitals, clinics and schools, sponsoring various sports activities as well as upgrading public infrastructure such as roads, police posts, schools and clinics.

The company also spends a significant amount of money on supporting career development programmes of young Zambians pursuing mining-related courses. The case of Mulala is one of the rare instances where the company sponsors an individual to pursue a course that is not directly related to mining.

“Munenga’s case is a very special case to us. It represents a slight departure from our routine CSR approach but the bigger picture to this is the country; Zambia stands to benefit from his skills once he becomes licensed,” adds Mr Callow.

Since inception in 2000, Mopani has spent close to K1 billion on its CSR programmes.