GOVERNMENT has reinstated the Collum Coal Mine licence and issued the colliery with a large-scale operations permit, a decision that is expected to save over 600 jobs and create an additional 200.
And Collum Coal Mining Industries Limited has appointed Lusaka business executive Suzyo Nyika as board chairman of the Sinazongwe-based mine in Southern Province.
The mining company has since been directed to ensure strict adherence to safety, health and environmental standards as it resumes operations early this month.
In a letter dated March 30 this year addressed to Mr Nyika and copied to the Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development, Geological Survey department and head of mining cadastre, director of mines development Mooya Lumamba informed the company that a decision had been made to reinstate the cancelled licence.
Mr Lumamba advised the company’s new management team in liaison with the Mines Safety Department to conduct a thorough audit of the mine and come up with a checklist of activities that need to be undertaken to ensure adherence to all mining regulations.
“The Mines Safety department shall also develop new guidelines on safety, health and environmental standards that you will be expected to adhere to. Please contact ZCCM-IH over the matter and ensure a smooth handover of the management of the mine,” Mr Lumamba states in the letter.
This follows Collum Coal Mining Industries’ successful appeal to President Lungu over its cancelled licence.
The 12,000 tonnes per annum producer of the heating substance chiefly used by the mines for production of various metals was shut down in February 2013.
Among concerns at the mine were alleged flouting of labour laws, poor safety and sanitary record at place of work and failure to remit taxes.
The mining licence was cancelled due to a number of unresolved disputes involving owners of the mine and the workers.
Collum Coal Mine director Xu Jianglin has announced that the mining company had appointed Mr Nyika and hopes all stakeholders will give him and his team support as they endeavor to resume operations and contribute to the economy of Sinazongwe and Zambia as a whole.
“We hope the new chairman will be given all the support by stakeholders to steer the mine to progress that will impact the people of Sinazongwe positively,” Mr Xu said.
In October 2010, two Chinese supervisors allegedly shot at protesting workers and injured 11 of them. The two supervisors were arrested and charged with appropriate offences but the matter was discontinued in the courts of law through a nolle prosequi.
In 2006, the then provincial minister Alice Simango openly wept after seeing miners during emerge semi-naked and barefoot from the tunnel.
Ms Simango, who was blocked from entering the mine by the mine owners, later recommended that it be closed to protect human life.