Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has announced that it will next week Tuesday start paying off the money owes its suppliers and contractors. This follows Friday’s protests by hundreds of contractors and their employees who blocked the entrance to the KCM general offices in Chingola in protest against non payment for eight months.
Addressing the media after a six hour closed door meeting with contractors, Minister of Mines Christopher Yaluma, Minister of Labour Joyce Simukoko and KCM Chief Financial Officer Sharad Gargiya said the first payment will be done this Tuesday.
Mr. Gargiya said the payments will continue until January to ensure all labour-based contractors and suppliers are paid within 30 days.
Mr. Yaluma said KCM must fulfill its promise and pay all its contractors within the time it has given itself. Mr Yaluma said government wants to see harmony between the Vedanta-owned firm and its suppliers so that the operations of the mining giant are sustained.
He directed KCM to start paying all its suppliers and contractors every month to ensure the bill does not accumulate again.
And when he addressed the protesting contractors who kept vigil at the KCM general offices entrance, Mr Yaluma said he had fulfilled his promise to ensure their money is paid.
He explained to them that KCM has transferred money to their accounts but due to the Christmas break, the funds will only reflect on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Simukoko has urged KCM and the contractors to strictly follow Zambia’s labour laws. Mrs Simukoko said labour laws in the country are clear and she expects both the mining firm and contractors to pay decent wages to their employees.
And Association of Mine Suppliers and Contractors President Augustine Mubanga has urged KCM to stick to its promise and clear its debt within 30 days. Mr Mubanga said KCM has over the last eight months given fake promises and became hostile to the association for simply following up on what is due to its members.
He said it is unfortunate that a matter which would have been sorted out between his association and management had to attract protests and two Cabinet Ministers to resolve.