President Rupiah Banda says Government is appreciative of the unique economic support the nation continues to receive from China.
President Banda says during the global financial crunch, the Chinese Government did not down-size or close its companies in the country but instead increased its investment.
The President said the common history between Zambia and China has many remarkable landmarks in which Zambia has ended up with major infrastructure such as the Tanzania-Zambia Mafuta Oil Pipeline among others.
Mr. Banda said this in Chambishi today when he officially launched the Chambishi Copper Smelter on the Copperbelt Province.
He said the Copper Smelter has been setup within the Chambishi Multi-Facility Zone, whose concept is to attract manufacturing companies, in both domestic and export based categories.
He said the smelter is a major step towards the sort of economic progress that Government anticipates within the zone.
“I am glad to note that the company has already made fruitful arrangements to process copper concentrates from the recently opened Lumwana Copper Mine in North-Western Province. The Smelter is also receiving concentrates from Chambishi NFCA, Chibuluma and Kansanshi Mines. This is healthy development in the nation”, he said.
The President cited another investment by Chambishi Copper Smelter as the construction of an Electricity Power Substation that was constructed to supply power to the company at a cost of approximately US $2.8 million in which China Non Ferrous Metal Mining Group Limited Holds 60 percent shares while ZESCO Limited has 40 percent shares.
Mr. Banda called on Mining Companies operating on the Copperbelt and North-Western Province to utilize the smelter whose construction has adhered to international standards.
He said Chambishi Copper Smelter was strategically located in the heart of the Copperbelt and was in close proximity to major concentrators at the large scale mines in Zambia.
President Banda was pleased to note that more than 600 jobs have been created and that the local people in the area could now be able to access meaningful employment.
He said Government was evidently succeeding in attracting foreign direct investment resulting in the creation of jobs for the people in the country.
Mr. Banda further expressed delight that Zambians and Chinese workers had combined and integrated as one people.
He said that was proof of the friendliness and good understanding adding that that was the best way in which foreign direct investment should take root and bear fruit in the country.
The President noted that foreign investors are an important part of the struggle to improve the quality of life for the Zambian people.
He appealed to members of Civil Society Organizations to interpret Government actions positively as the country makes an effort to bring in foreign investment.
“ Where there are ideas on how to further improve or enhance Zambia’s relationship with Foreign investors and make them more profitable to the Zambian populace, those ideas are always welcome”, he said.
And Mr. Banda says Government pursues optimum benefits for workers injured, disabled or disposed at places of work, saying certain jobs were by nature hazardous and exposed workers to long-term health risks or sudden loss of limb or life through accidents.
He cautioned authorities at the Copper Smelter to ensure that the health and safety of the employees is central.
Mr. Banda said employees are the ones that generate revenues for the company and are also the ones on whom the progress and well-being of families depend.
The President further urged the mining sector to work within the confines of the Zambian law and cooperate with the regulatory bodies such as the Zambia Safety Department and the Environmental Council of Zambia to ensure compliance with various provisions of the law.