Government says it will not allow Mopani copper mines to place the Mufulira and Nkana plants on care and maintenance.
Mines Minister, Maxwell Mwale, says government has written to Mopani copper mines asking them to surrender the assets and expects an answer from them by Friday.
Mr. Mwale however emphasised that government will not nationalise the two mines but only secure their assets.
He told ZNBC that other investors are interested in taking over the mine and that government can not allow the management to go into care and maintenance while miners suffer.
Mr. Mwale said government will not rescind its directive to Mopani management to surrender the assets of the mines.
Mr. Mwale said due diligence tests carried out on most of the mines indicate that Zambia still has viable mineral resources.
He said there is no excuse for firms to pull out their investments from Zambia because copper prices on the market are economical.
Meanwhile, only about 10 out of more than 500 mining rights in the emerald restricted area on the Copperbelt have been developed.
This came to light at the Emerald and Semi precious Stones Mining Association of Zambia -ESMAZ- Annual General Meeting in Kitwe.
ESMAZ acting president, Dale Litana, said all the developed emerald mines are owned by foreigners.
He said the gemstone sector has seen very little development since the inception of emerald mining in the 1930s.
And Mines Safety department chief inspector of mines, Billy Chewe, assured the gemstone miners of continued government support.