Lipmann's involvement with the town of Mufulira in Zambia
In 2006, in order to move away from the hurly burly, it so happened that my wife and I moved home to an old house in rural Somerset; a part of the West of England called The Levels. The only connection between this region and the metal trade that I knew of, was that the Romans had once mined and smelted lead and zinc in the Mendip Hills, while coal was dug up at Radstock just east of here. My house, I had thought, was as far from the world of city commodities and trading as I thought I could be. And yet, not more than a few days into my pastoral idyll, while I was getting to know my neighbour over the garden fence - and probably telling her what I did for a living - she said to me: 'I'm an art teacher, and I'm just packing the kids off to Mufulira'.
This, without further explanation on her behalf, was I thought, an unusual introduction. But it nevertheless had the effect of inspiring in me the wish to know more; and so began something of a journey. Mufulira, (which means Land of Abundance in the local tongue), was at that time to me merely a dimly recalled brand of copper I had learned on a long list of London Metal Exchange brands, upon joining the metal trade in 1979. Why, and how on earth, was a middle school in Somerset sending young teenagers to Mufulira? I needed to find out more; and this I did over the next fourteen years, involving frequent travel to this beautiful country, the making of friends, some advocacy along the way, and establishing lasting links between our minor metals industry and this copper mining town.