Luanshya Copper Mines ignores Kambwili’s warning, sends workers on leave

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Chishimba Kambwili
Chishimba Kambwili

LUANSHYA Copper Mines (LCM) has confirmed that 1, 200 miners at Baluba mine have been sent on forced leave while the attendant departments have been placed on care and maintenance.

This comes a day after Government’s call not to send the miners on forced leave and place Baluba mine under care and maintenance.

Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Chishimba Kambwili warned at a press briefing on Monday that Government would not condone any threats by mining companies to lay off workers.

Mr. Kambwili said there was power being imported from Namibia for mining companies to buy at a premium rate.

“We are not going to condone any mining company that will cease operations and lay off workers on the basis of power shortage, there is an option of buying power at a premium rate which is being imported from Namibia for mining companies to operate at full capacity,” he said.

But LCM head of Public Relations Sydney Chileya said the Company had maintained to suspend the operations at the plant and that so far, 1, 200 miners had received letters to proceed on leave.

“Workers have started receiving their letters and I can confirm that about 1, 200 miners have so far received and are going on leave,” he said.

He said the affected employees would be paid a monthly allowance in order to lessen the economic burden until the next course of action was advised.

Mr. Chileya said it was management’s intention to conduct an orderly shutdown and cleanup of the operation with the controlled release of all personnel except for those who shall form part of the care and maintenance team.

He said the decision was arrived at after considering the escalating cost structure for Baluba Mine owing to the reduced copper price, coupled with the energy deficit the country was currently experiencing.

Mr. Chileya said the improvement, to acceptable and economically viable levels, of the fundamentals which had forced this action would prompt the re-opening of the Baluba Mine and its attendant departments and the recalling of all employees from leave.

In a separate interview, Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) president Nkole Chishimba said LCM did not consult the union before taking the drastic action.

Mr. Chishimba said it was saddening to note that mining firms had

continued to lay off workers without engaging in dialogue key stakeholders.

“Luanshya mine is a big mining firm , it should consult key stakeholders before taking such actions, as a union we are not involved, as it is now, we are only reading in the papers that workers are being laid off,” he said.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. I feel for that beautiful small town of Luanshya. This firm is the major employer in town, so expect a major blow to the local economy. Anyway, Baluba was already on the downturn with a few years left.

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  2. When are we going to learn how to manage our own mines? These pipo are here to make themselves rich. what kind of business agreements do we sign which dont favour Zambians kanshi?

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  3. Well done LCM. Government must not “tamper” with free enterprise.
    There are ways and means of weathering the storm, but it calls for commitment from all.
    I successfully helped such mines in DR Congo, Saudi Arabia, Bolivia and Mauritania.

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  4. Besides the rhetoric, what has the govt done to avert the situation? Kambwili, play your part, dictation is not a solution.

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  5. You don’t own the mines. What right do you have to dictate what they do as long as they are bound within the labour laws? The price we pay for poor privatisation deals

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  6. Kambwili needs a reality check, he expanding while everyone is contracting, he is too dull to understand that everything requires some form of energy to run, hope Zambians learn a hard lesson about electing dull people who will even blame an ant for the problems we have. Kambwili come up with solutions otherwise your party will be on the chopping board next year.

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  7. During credit crunch in 2008 RB managed to entice new companies to open new operations on the CB thereby ensuring the livelihoods of hundreds of families but fulish Zambians voted him out in favour of the two clowns Sata and Chisquander in 2011!

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  8. ….investors are in Zed primarily to make money/profit out of their investment……Employment, paying govt taxes and community responsibility are just bye -products……so if their primary objective gets affected for whatever reason, the ‘bye-products’ naturally gets affected.. tumbles….that’s why ZCCM is no more because it still kept the same number of employees for political appeasement despite the dwindling revenue it made….

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  9. Threats from this Minister will remain just that “empty words” and will be ignored by well meaning people and businesses. A responsible Government would have had the Minister of Mines going to Luanshya and meeting up with the management team to discuss best way forward – and not the Government spokesperson uttering nonsensical threats when GRZ has no control in the running of the business as was the case before under ZCCM. It therefore, follows that without dialogue the Mines have a right to make a decision that makes business sense and the cutting of running costs is such a decision.

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  10. Kambwili was in Luanshya trying to please his constituents with his “warning” to LCM! Ba Honourable, what next?

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  11. Inverster are becoming too boastful,is it they first see the weakness of govt or they bribe the govt to prune pipo so they have more profit to make themselves rich,why all silly things which is happening right now or this very year they neva happened in sata’s reign.let the govt not pretend they be the genesis of all these problems.

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