Konkola Copper Mines Chief Executive Officer Steven Din has moved to allay fears that the announced shutdown of the Nchanga Smelter will result in massive job losses.
Mr Din told Copperbelt Minister Bowman Lusambo who was on a fact finding mission to the plant on Saturday morning that shutdown is necessary to bring about increased efficiency in mine operation.
He briefed Hon. Lusambo that KCM is replacing the old and almost obsolete smelter plant with a modern facility that will process higher volumes of ore with better energy usage.
Mr Din also dispelled reports that the shutdown of the plant will see more Zambian miners lose employment at the mining giant.
He revealed that to the contrary, KCM will maintain all the existing 500 permanent jobs and create 200 temporary jobs during the period of the shutdown and construction of a new smelter plant.
Mr Din emphasised that KCM has a strong Zambianisation agenda and has since promoted promising young Zambians into key leadership positions in the company through extensive training programmes.
He however admitted that procedure was not thoroughly followed when undertaking the shutdown but promised to engage the Ministry of Mines and other relevant government department during the period of the shutdown.
And Copperbelt Minister Bowman Lusambo told Mr Lusambo that Government is interested in win-win investment partnership for the mining sector.
Mr Lusambo said he was compelled to swiftly tour the smelter plant to get first-hand information on the state of affairs at the facility and deliver a message from President Edgar Chagwa Lungu that the PF Government is committed to protecting the interests of Zambians as it engages with the investment community.
He also told Mr Din that Government is concerned that KCM has now started delaying the payment of monthly salaries which he said has the potential to dampen miner’s productivity.
Mr Lusambo stressed the need to prioritise local contractors in the awarding of contracts as a way of spreading the benefits of mining investment.
He stated that Government is happy with the level of investment in KCM but stressed that foreign investment should benefit the local people.