Africa-Press – Zambia. Minister of Mines Paul Kabuswe has clarified that the government has not yet set any plans regarding the future of the liquidated Konkola Copper Mine. Mr Kabuswe however stressed that the decision that will be made over Konkola Copper Mine will be for the benefit of the Zambian people.
Mr Kabuswe was responding to calls by the Mine Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) that was quoted in yesterday’s daily nation newspaper, asking government not to entertain promises by Vedanta Resources to invest over 1.5 million US dollars in KCM.
Speaking to Journalist in an interview in Kitwe today, Mr Kabuswe said that government will however involve all the key stakeholders before making any decision.
“I must state that whatever MUZ has said are mere speculations as the government has not issued any statement on who is taking what mine or on the fate of KCM but we will ensure a win- win situation in the decision that will be made,” Mr. Kabuswe said.
He further stated that various investors including Vedanta Resources indicate that they would want to come to Zambia and invest but the status quo remains until government makes an official statement.
Yesterday the Mines Union of Zambia was quoted in the Daily Nation Newspaper urging the government against bringing Vedanta Resources back to run Konkola Copper Mine.
Association of Mine Suppliers and Contractors have urged the government to find a new and credible investor to run KCM. Speaking in a separate interview in Kitwe, Association president Augustine Mubanga said in the past, KCM failed to honour its production target and also failed to honour its contractual obligation to liquidate the debt it owed to suppliers and contractors.
Mr Mubanga further noted that it was now difficult to believe if Vedanta can honour the over 1.5 million US dollar investment it is pledging because it made several similar promises in the past which it did not honour when it had the chance to do so.
“Vedanta had a long time chance to invest and revamp KCM, if it operated above board we would not have landed into this liquidation, our appeal to government is that we resolve the KCM court case outside court and find another credible investor who can help transform KCM rather than Vedanta Resources,” Mr. Mubanga stressed.
Last year government revoked the mining licence for Konkola Copper Mine from Vedanta Resources and placed the Mine under liquidation after the investor allegedly failed to re-capitalize it and meet its financial obligations in taxes and payment of debts owed to suppliers and contractors.
However, the take-over of the Mine by the Zambian government has been contested by Vedanta Resources and the case is currently in court. President Hakainde Hichilema has promised to revive Mopani and Konkola Copper Mines to ensure they operate at the optimum rate.
Yesterday, Mr Kabuswe assured members of the public that government will restore sanity and bring productivity to the ministry by being present in areas where mining activities will be conducted. Mr Kabuswe disclosed that the ministry will create a system that will allow monitoring of minerals being mined in all mining areas.
He stated that government has attached great importance to the development of the mineral wealth the country has and hence will ensure minerals being exploited are properly accounted for so as to realize the full wealth. Mr Kabuswe highlighted that government will ensure that all untapped resources in the country are properly exploited for the benefit of all citizens.
“We will be announcing, I am sure, after clearance from cabinet and after clearance from the President on how we are going to make sure that wherever there are mining activities, there is the presence of the ministry of mines. That is the first step in realizing the extent of the wealth that this country has,” he explained.
He further added that government will ensure that the value chain of minerals benefits Zambians through the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprise. He said government is determined to see that Zambians participate in mining through mine ownership and mining value chain.
“What we have noticed is that mostly it is our friends from other countries and other regions that are getting the wealth, yet Zambians are not benefiting even from the mineral value chain. I know we only benefit 2 percent from the mineral resource, yet we have over 5 million Kwacha in the mineral value chain,” he expressed.
Mr Kabuswe disclosed that the ministry will root out corruption that has currently messed up the sector and led to Zambians not benefitting from the mineral wealth.
“I am calling all my team, we work together, we root out corruption, we deal with issues that have made us be where we are in terms of lack of benefiting of resource, we want Zambians to have a fair shot and anybody that will be found wanting, will not be tolerated” he expounded.
He mentioned that the ministry will not permit any mining company to operate without following safety standards or laid down procedures. “We want mines to operate in an atmosphere that supports the workers and makes sure that workers have a proper livelihood,” he noted. He called on mining companies to take care of their workers in order to avoid accidents and low production.