Two Patriotic Front (PF) parliamentarians have welcomed Government’s order for Glencore to surrender assets of Mopani Copper Mine in Mufulira and Nkana Copper Mine in Kitwe to enable the two companies to continue operating.
Roan member of Parliament (MP), Chishimba Kambwili and his Kasama Central counterpart, Saviour Chishimba, said Government should infact confiscate the assets from the investor to prevent further job losses in the mining sector.
The duo was speaking in Lusaka yesterday when they staged a two-man protest against impending job losses in the mines at the Mass Media complex.
“Government should not only ask Glencore to surrender assets but it should confiscate the assets and start running the mines,” he said.
Mr Kambwili said the duo would on Friday visit mining companies on the Copperbelt to assess the situation on the ground.
Meanwhile the Mine Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) has also welcomed Government’s move to order Glencore to surrender assets of Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) in Mufulira and Nkana Copper Mine in Kitwe.
This follows the decision by the mines’ investor to suspend operations and place the companies under care and maintenance until copper prices return to US$5,500 per tonne.
Glencore, which runs operations of MCM and Nkana, recently presented their plans to Government.
MUZ general secretary Oswell Munyenyembe said Government should not backpedal on its decision saying there was need to ensure that the assets of the mines were intact and protected from stripping.
He said a vacuum must not be created in the mines between the investors leaving and those who wanted to take over the operations.
“We welcome the move by the government to order Glencore to surrender the assets.
We believe that government and some Zambians have the capacity to run the operations of the mines. When Anglo American Corporation pulled out of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), Government was running the mine until it found an investor,” he said.
Mr Munyenyembe said mining companies were still making profits from the current copper prices at the international market.
“We still believe that these mining companies are still making profits and these job losses can be avoided,” he said.
Mr Munyenyembe said there was need to protect the assets from being removed from mines that were being placed under care and maintenance.
On Friday, Minister of Mines and Minerals Development, Maxwell Mwale said in Lusaka that Glencore should surrender assets of the two mines to ensure continued operations and avoid further job losses in the mining sector.
Mr Mwale said government would not allow a situation in which current mine owners only wanted to manage profitable mines and left the unprofitable firms under care and maintenance.
In the case of MCM, Glencore has also informed government about its intention to halt operations of the mine due to the high cost of underground mining and its short life span.
[ Zambia Daily Mail]